Well, this is the time of year when everyone talks about making new year resolutions. The changing of the calendar tends to focus the mind and brings the idea of fresh starts. This is all very well, even though the beginning of the year might not be the best date for everyone, but resolutions tend to assume we're going to make one big change and then stick to it for ... ever, whereas goals tend to be more of a process with a purposeful end. I'd like to challenge the idea that we are suddenly going to make sweeping changes just because it's January 1st. I find that making changes is often a bit more complex than that. We can find that it takes us a while to start a new plan. It can definitely take us a while to stick to a new plan. And often we have to revise the plan along the way so it suits us better. For example, if our 2014 resolution was to join a gym, we would go along, sign up, pay the money and then try and make ourselves go on a regular basis. The success rate would be dependent on many things: our time available, our energy available and how much we really wanted to be going to a gym in the first place. If we stop going, then we can feel we've failed. If, however, we set a goal to be fitter by the summer (how you determine that is up to you), then we might start off by joining a gym, but quickly realise it's not for us. We might try out a taster day instead of actually signing up. Maybe we then hear about different types of exercise and try them out until we find something that suits us. If, along the way, other things come up, we can choose how we manage them with our fitness, knowing we can pick up again when they calm down. But the main difference with goals is that until we get to the summer, we have no way of telling whether we've succeeded or failed as the process is ongoing. But with the resolutions, we can often feel failure as soon as our plans slip. So be kinder to yourselves and set goals rather then resolutions this year.
This article was prompted by a recent communication with a friend, who declared that she couldn't be happy because of various things that had happened to her. I think many of us have at some point felt the same - that happiness is an end product, a result you gain when your life is perfect, when you have enough money, when you find that perfect partner. The list goes on. However, I'd like to dispute that. Happiness is a choice we make every day. And once we've achieved happiness, then often the other things follow. The key is to take charge of our emotions, rather than letting them take charge of us. Often we feel extremely justified as to how we feel. We can explain in great detail why we feel the way we do. However, does this serve us? For example, my friend had many regrets; things she wished were different about her past, but these were things which she can't change now. And yet, she held these things responsible for her unhappiness. Now, if she could make the choice to let these thing go and decide to be happy in spite of them, she would have a better quality of life. I used to react to everything negative, but nowadays I'm far more in control of how I respond. For example, last night I got a power cut. I calmly lit my candles and finished up before going to bed, hoping it would be back in the morning. It wasn't, and I also found that my shed was damaged and needed urgent repairs to make it waterproof before I headed off to work. Now, in the past, I would have stressed and ranted and felt that the world was extremely unfair to put this kind of burden on me - and just before Christmas too. And then I would probably have worried about how long the power would stay off and the impact on the food in my fridge and freezer. These unwanted thoughts would have gone round and round my head, preventing me from doing anything else useful. Today, I've just taken it in my stride. There's absolutely nothing I can practically do to fix the power. If food goes off, then it will have to be chucked out, but luckily I'm not hosting Christmas, or I'd have rung round some friends to make other arrangements. And I've decamped to work, where I have warmth, light and broadband. I'm very happy here. So generally in life, I invite you to decide which choices you really wish to make. Do you really want to respond negatively to a situation? Do you really want to respond argumentatively to someone who's pressing your buttons? Do you really want to hold on to the wrongs done to you in the past? Or would you rather choose to be happy?
I was thinking the other day about the pressure we put on ourselves to be perfect. It was triggered by 2 friends who are taking on new voluntary roles. The first was apologising in advance for possibly messing up. I don't think anyone who knows him thinks he'll mess up, but that was quite a big concern of his. I then was thinking, in contrast, of another friend who reminds us that she is still learning her role and will not be perfect yet. And then she does the best that she can. I used to be a perfectionist. I hold my hands up to this. I'd be proud of the quality of my work. I'd love to hear compliments about it. However, the flip-side was that I'd take ages to get anything finished and I'd often procrastinate if I wasn't sure it would be perfect enough, so sometimes the task wouldn't get done at all. And I'd carry around this ever growing list of things to do, which put extra stress on me. Now I'm not advocating that we don't do our best, but our best will vary according to not only our ability, but also our current level of experience, how we're feeling that day, and what other pressures we have going on in our lives. There are times when perfection is relevant - if you are a surgeon or operating dangerous machinery, for example. However how I design my business cards really isn't one of them; it's more like a journey, each version can be a little bit different as I evolve my ideas and experience. It's also good to think of where we'd be if, as babies, we didn't risk failure in learning to walk and talk. How would it be if we looked at the baby next to us who was more developed in these skills and decided it wasn't worth us bothering as we couldn't do it right now. It seems a ridiculous notion, but many people do exactly this as adults. So, don't let the fear of perceived failure, put extra pressure on you, or stop you doing something. Be honest with people as to your experience and do the best you can.
So December has arrived for its annual visit and the shops are full of festive cheer. I've heard that people have started decorating their homes, although I leave mine a bit later than this, due to the fact that my Christmas tree is so large it takes up too much space for it to be there too long. Now, I love the festive season. I love the build up, the parties, the choosing presents for my loved ones, the singing of carols, and finally spending Christmas itself with my family. But I realise from talking to other people that not everyone is so lucky. So I thought I'd address this here and offer some help. Christmas is a very significant time of the year. Whether we like it or not, we're sold a fairy tale annually by the retail community. As much as we may try to ignore it, it's very difficult not to compare your experience with this. If, for whatever reason, your past Christmases weren't brilliant, you may have a sinking feeling each year. If you are now the one responsible for "getting Christmas together", you may feel a lot of pressure to make it perfect for all your guests, which can leave you tired and time-starved before it even arrives. If you are unfortunate to have had a sad occasion happen at a previous Christmas, the arrival of each year can trigger unresolved grief. If you used to have great Christmases, but your situation has now changed and you've lost these, this annual holiday can bring up unresolved feelings of regret. And finally, if you're unfortunate to have to spend Christmas with people in whose company you wouldn't normally choose to spend time, you may end up with conflict and maybe even arguments. The good news is, that in all these situations, kinesiology can help clear the stress. It gently removes the stress around the triggering events and changes the association we have linked to Christmas. It will leave you feeling happier and less burdened and more able to enjoy the festive season in your own way. So if you'd like to create the positive Christmas experience you'd really like, please do get in touch - 01635 581682 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
I recently have undergone some therapy. I do this often - I think most therapists do, maybe more than most, because we know just how beneficial it is. But I digress... This therapy included listening to some hypnosis CDs each day. That sounds easy, right? Well, I've managed to stick to it, but what was interesting was that I noticed quite a lot of resistance to it at the start. To briefly summarise, the point was to re-programme my subconscious, which is great and just what I wanted to happen. However, my subconscious, which I learnt recently, only develops until the age of 6, didn't wholly agree that it wanted to change and tried to throw a childish tantrum. I got some mild headaches and I got very tired. I also got the feeling that it would be easier if I didn't bother. Luckily, having been in this business for a while now, I recognised these symptoms for what they were and my conscious (the adult part of my brain) decided to override these impulses. I also had a gentle chat with my subconscious, thanking it for dealing with things the best it could in the past and telling it kindly that it didn't have to take on all these extra duties, which were really the role of the conscious, any more. The next time I listened to the CD, I felt a much greater relaxation and felt energised at the end. Now, this can happen with any holistic therapy. As we heal, part of ourselves can want to hold on to the old ways of being. It may be that the old ways were a form of protection. It may be that this part fears what will happen when change comes. The key is to be aware of the resistance for what it is. We can't fight resistance; we have to gently coerce it to change. Think about how you'd like to be approached in order to change and use the same approach when you talk to your subconscious. You may find amazing things happen.
We've all probably been told at some point in our lives to try harder. Maybe by our parents or school teachers, or seen it written on a school report. Nowadays it's very common to hear people say "I'll try" in response to a request to do something. But what is actually going on energetically with this? To start with, the confirmation that you'll "try" suggests that you may succeed or you may fail. It therefore prepares the person you're talking to for either outcome. It also lets you off the hook if you don't achieve whatever you were setting out to do as you pre-warned that it might not happen. Now that's fine if you're referring to something that isn't very important, but not so good if it's a priority. "I'll try and get to the gym this week." If I were to hear those words from someone, I wouldn't be very sure they'd actually make it. The word "try" also suggests a lot of effort. "I'm going to try and push that car along the road." Well, I'll heave and heave and I may shift it a bit, but it's going to take all my strength to do it. Similarly, "I'll try to clean the kitchen today" suggests that this will be a mammoth job that may well take ages and leave us drained to exhaustion. That's not really likely to inspire us to get started. In fact, it creates resistance. I would suggest that firstly, we just make a decision whether or not we truly want to take action. For that, we need to dig down and find out our underlying motivations. What are our reasons for doing it? Are we just trying to placate another person when we have no intention of doing it? Is there buried fear around doing it, even if we're not sure exactly what that fear is? Then if we decide to do it, affirm that we are going to do it. "I'm going to the gym this week" has much more certainty to it. I'd be more likely to believe this. Also, if we affirm an intention to someone else, we often feel more accountable to take the action, which can help us find motivation when it's not forthcoming. By affirming rather than trying, we're going with the flow rather than fighting against the current. Affirmations help create a new reality. If we affirm that we are becoming fitter, then we are likely to attract things to help us create that, including the motivation to go to the gym. If we decide not to do something, be honest. Let the other person know why and be accountable for your choice. They may not like it, but in the long run, they'll probably respect you more for your honesty and for setting clear boundaries. So next time you hear yourself say the word "try", check out whether it is really serving you.
I love creating the titles for all my blogs, but this has got to be one of my favourite. Firstly, when I talk about rescue, I'm not referring to rescue from massive environmental disasters, or the sort of essential help we receive when we're ill. What I'm talking about is the need some of us have to rescue people from their problems - the sort of problems they go round and round in circles with - the sort of problems that can impact on our lives by the very behaviour others exhibit - the sort of problems that the other person doesn't recognise as a problem. The thing is, no-one can fix another person. Their journey is just that - their journey. As hard and as painful as it can be to see someone suffer, nagging them to change or rushing over to make everything as painless as you can is often not the best of most constructive help you can give. I'm going to focus on some of the consequences of doing this. Firstly, it can be very annoying. I remember when I was struggling with various things in my life, people would offer "helpful advice" and then get annoyed with me when I explained why it wouldn't work. The truth was that, although the advice was logically sound, I wasn't ready to make that step. I needed to sort other stuff out first and no-one else but me could possibly know what order I needed to heal areas of my life in. Secondly, it can be very dis-empowering. If you're rescuing someone who laps up the help, it can lead to reliance on the helper. Also it can lead to low self-esteem if the person feels they can't fix things his or herself and this can lead to a reluctance to even try. This something I've been taught all the way through my professional training. Do not encourage clients to become dependent on their therapist in the long term. Thirdly, we need to be aware that rescue might be fulfilling a need in ourselves to be useful, to be appreciated, to be the one who's indispensable. If these needs are left unchecked, what will happen if the person we are rescuing gets better. Will we suddenly have a gap in our lives? Does part of us need them not to on some level? Or will we transfer our rescue on to someone else? Some people have a pattern of helping good causes. This is fine if it's in balance, but it can also mask a problem of not wanting to focus on ourselves. If you find yourself in this situation, I invite you to think about the following questions. Is the help you're offering life saving? Obviously this is a no-brainer. We're not suggesting leaving a loved one to die or have serious injury, but are you the best person to be dealing with it. It might be more relevant to phone the emergency services and leave it to them if it happens repeatedly. Are your worries for the future realistic or are you considering the worst case scenario? Often our fears surpass what is likely to happen. If you're not sure, reach out to someone else for an opinion that isn't clouded by the emotion of the situation. What would you choose to do if your fear wasn't there? Did you already have plans which the rescue would interfere with. Maybe someone else go to help this time or maybe they could wait a bit until you're free to go. What kind of help do you think is expected of you? Is the person even asking for help or are they just letting you know what's happening with them? If they are wanting help, do they mean they want you to drop everything and rush over to fix their whole life or do they want something a lot smaller from you? Remember the best help is that which is given for our greatest and highest good. Sometimes things have to get worse before they get better. Sometimes it's in the low points that we find the courage or the reason to change. I know that I often have low points when I don't want to face something about my life, or I don't want to take some kind of action that would be beneficial. No-one is a higher authority on our journey than ourselves, so be careful not to seem to be taking that authority away from another person. The best thing we can do for another person is to support them in their journey with love, whilst focusing on our own needs.
How many of us put things off, which we know would be better if they were done now. I know I have to put my hand up for that one. For all those who scroll down to read the previous blog post, you'll see it was in August. So for just over 2 months, I've procrastinated writing a new post. I can come up with a thousand excuses; some of them sound very reasonable, some sound just plain ridiculous (even to me). The truth is that I've procrastinated. I've diverted myself onto other things because I haven't wanted to write. I've wasted time because I haven't wanted to write. I've even been ill for a little while, which gave me an excuse not to write. But the truth of the matter is that there has been fear preventing me from writing. Not the kind of easily identifiable fear. I don't expect a big monster to come and eat me if I tap keys on my laptop. No, this is the kind of hidden fear that lurks in the shadows and suggests that something bad might happen. It doesn't quantify what, because then I could rationalise it away. And it doesn't clearly explain to me what I'm frightened of; it persuades me I don't like writing, which is actually completely false, because I'm loving writing this. It persuades me that I don't know what to write, which is also false, because I didn't know what I was going to write before I started writing this post and yet the words have come. No, the truth is that I'm fearful of something deeper. Maybe it's fear of failure, maybe fear of success, maybe fear of opening up, maybe fear of making a mistake. Maybe a bit of all of those. The other important thing is that I'm completely normal. It's take me a long while to come to that realisation, but it's true. No matter how much I feel I'm alone with this, most people are fearful. Some people are fearful of standing up in front of people, whether it's doing a presentation of being in a show. Some people have a fear of making a phone call to someone they don't know. Some people are fearful of asking for help and support. Now, the thing with fear is that it can often come from events in our past. If we had a bad experience in a school play, we might fear being on stage now. However, sometimes the fear comes from doing something new, from stepping out of our comfort zone. If you've always labelled yourself as someone who doesn't make phone calls, it's going to take you a little while to become comfortable with it. I got into writing this blog over the spring and summer, but the longer I've left it unwritten, the harder it has been to reconnect with it. The first step is literally taking the first step. I've sat down at my laptop. I invite you to stand up on stage, even if it's alongside someone else. I invite you to pick up the phone and make one call on your list. I invite you to ask one person for some help, even if it's the tiniest thing. I invite you to take that first step and to realise that the monster doesn't actually come. And when you've done that, congratulate yourself and plan step 2. It's OK to feel fear while you're doing this. We don't have to clear all the fear before we take action. In fact, it is often not possible to do this. We often have to take action in order to clear the fear. So, I wish you courage to take the next step in to your power and I would love to hear how you get on.
A couple of days ago, I met up with a friend, who was not feeling her normal positive self. She had a couple of nerve-racking events coming up, but she seemed very flustered generally. She said she felt heavy and seemed to lack her normal confidence. So I thought I'd write a little article about why this happens and how we can get ourselves out of it. Firstly, I'd like to say that this is a pretty normal reaction to the stresses and strains of every day life. From time to time we're bound to slip off the positivity plateau that I'm sure all my readers frequent on a regular basis. Oh, you don't? Well read on... There's a big difference between falling off this plateau and staying down. The second state is one which hopefully you can avoid. Our emotional state is one which will always fluctuate. The word emotion can be broken down into e-motion. The "e" stands for energy, so emotions are energy in motion. Hence they are designed to move, ie fluctuate. There is no problem with feeling anything in life. The problems come when you get stuck there, as anything which is stuck can't move. The other point to recognise is that this movement is in a vibratory pattern. How fast or slow these emotions vibrate depends on how positive or negative they are to us. In simple terms, the closer they are to love or fear - love being the most positive and fear being the most negative. Try it out for yourself: what order would you put the following: contentment, anger, frustration, bliss? The next thing is what to do about it. Well there are a few options. The easiest and quickest is to use your self-talk to boost your emotional vibration. Your what, I hear you cry? Your self-talk - the little voice inside your head which, if you're feeling negative, is probably saying ridiculously untrue things like "I'll never do it", "I'm not good enough" and often gets worse and worse as we spiral downwards. For some reason us humans find this state quite sticky. We can very easily get immersed in such a state, but we do ourselves great harm with negative self-talk. So the obvious solution is to monitor what we're thinking and change it for the opposite. So if we find ourselves saying "I'll never do it", immediately change this to "I'll easily do it". You may not believe it straight away, but if you keep replacing the negative statements with positive ones, then you'll soon start to. You only believe the negative ones because you've repeated them so much. This works very well for sudden emotion drops, when they are a temporary state. For more long term states of low emotion, we often need to do a bit more. It's still worth replacing your self-talk, but often we find it harder, or the results come more slowly, which can discourage us. It might be worth interrogating the emotions (gently) to find out where they came from. We might recognise them as the voice of a parent or teacher from when we were younger and that might be enough for us to disown them and replace them with a new positive voice of our own. If we're still not getting the results we want, chatting to a friend can help. Remember, it's great to talk to someone who can empathise with the fact you're having a hard time, but not someone who's going to agree with you that life sucks, unless you really want to remain stuck in a low vibration. And if none of this is helping, it might be worth getting some professional help. I can help you find the root cause of the negative emotions and help you transform them in to positive ones. There's no need to stay down.
Process is a word that comes up a lot in healing circles. People talk about being in process or processing stuff, but what does it actually mean and how does it work? When something changes in our life - circumstances, or our feelings about something - we go through a period of transformation. Sometimes that's quite smooth and quick, but at other times it can be quite challenging. Take, for example, moving house. When moved from my last house to my present one, both of which I liked, there was a period where I felt uncomfortable in the new house. I hadn't yet got to the point where I felt at home there, but I'd already left the last place, so I couldn't return there either. Eventually I made the new place home and things became more comfortable, but the period of adjustment is what we know as the process. One thing that can come up during a process is uncertainty. That may be one of the reasons I found it hard to adjust my new home - it was all new and unfamiliar. However process happens with other types of change too. It might be that an organisation or group you're involved in wants to change something. The tendency is often to resist the change or take it as a personal criticism, but it might be that the change will result in something even better. We might want to resolve everything very quickly so we know where we stand, but we will probably have to go through a period of process. If a large number of people are involved then they will need to have their views heard and they may change their views during the process. The uncertainty can feel uncomfortable until a new equilibrium is found. In the same way, when we go through therapeutic healing, whether we do this by ourselves or with a professional therapist, we are also going through a change. We're changing from the person we were to the person we are becoming. Although this will be a positive change, the unknown element can make it feel a bit strange for a while. As unresolved issues come to the surface, we can feel uncomfortable. As we let go of the old, we can feel a bit empty. As we take a new step into the unknown, we can feel vulnerable. The key to all this is patience and trust. An awareness of what process is can make it easier for us. Rather than panicking that we're somehow going mad or that a decision feels wrong, we can ride it out calmly. It is also important to let others go through their own process. By recognising this, we can give them space and respect until they have found their new balance. So I wish you the best for your next process. Enjoy.