goals

Goals – where next for 2019?

As we start the New Year does it leave you feeling energised and excited about the months ahead or flat and unmotivated?

The date of 1st January is irrelevant as it only represents the limitations of time that we have put in place.  However there is something to be said about having ideas of what you want to get out of life.  At times it may be okay to go with the flow and drift through life although there is a danger that others will then influence your choices.

When we set out our own aspirations, dreams and goals then we are more likely to achieve them.  It has been proven that if you write out or share your goals then success of reaching your goal is greatly increased.

Just keeping a thought in your mind is probably not going to be enough; action needs to happen along with support and encouragement from others.  It is easy to get side tracked by internal doubts and worries and these can be used as an excuse to either not get started or to give up on your dreams.  As explained in my video here – when we reach the end of our life it will be the things that we haven’t done that we will regret.

There are several ways to help support the first part your achievement.  Write them down and put them somewhere that you can see them every day.  Instead of writing, depict your aspirations visually in a vision board placing it as a screen saver or a poster.

If you are not sure what you want to do you may like to do this exercise of listing what you want/have/don’t want and don’t have by using this template.  Once you have completed the columns turn the “don’t want” into what do you want instead?  This will help you to start identifying your goals.

Create a Be/Do/Have list – without judgement or preconceptions keep adding to your list over a few weeks.  Are there any themes?  Is there something in there that you have always wanted to do?

Are you somebody that starts and then gets stuck?  Remind yourself why this goal is really important to you – what are you going to gain from it, how is it going to affect your life?  Remember 90% of achieving goals is knowing why it is important to you, 10% is how you will achieve it. If you are a champion procrastinator lean how to use EFT or Tapping to break down those blocks.

These are just a few suggestions that will help you get on your way of creating a year that you can look back on with pride, contentment, enjoyment and satisfaction.

Have an adventurous, exciting, fun-filled and challenging 2019!

Happiness

Happiness!

Happiness is now a measurement that can define a country.  The latest survey this year, came out with ratings for the “happiest” countries.  The Scandinavian countries once again coming out on top with Finland at number one.  Although Britain is in 19th place it is still not a good indictment of our country.
Happiness is subjective but the fact that Denmark has consistently been in the top 3 over the past 5 years suggests they are doing something right as a nation.   One explanation is “hygge” pronounced “hoo-ga” with the closest explanation as being one of coziness.

The sense of being together and belonging creates coziness.  It’s when we allow ourselves to relax in a state that feels warm and comforting that we can recognise a sense of happiness.  These moments and opportunities do not always need money to be achieved.  In fact it has been proven that over the decades although our income has increased our levels of happiness have not.
It is our responsibility to seek out our own happiness and when we are in this emotional state we can affect other peoples’ levels of wellbeing and happiness too.

So how can we experience hygge?  First of all we have to be mindful to it.  Appreciate the moment; savour the sense of whatever we are doing in order to absorb those warm feelings.  If our minds are closed or focused on what’s not right or what is wrong then we will miss those times of happiness.  I have mentioned before about “destination addiction” – Andy Cope, if we are constantly thinking that we will be happy, relaxed, chilled only when it is Friday or on holiday that we are missing out on the present.  Animals and young children are much more able to create their moments of happiness as they live in the present moment.
However, we can all make our own hygge.

Connect with people, whether that is family or friends, at home in the work place or out socially – talk to people.  It has been proven that being with people that are supportive, fun, encouraging greatly improves mental wellbeing. Take up hobbies and do things just for fun.  Be a child again and put on the wellies and splash through puddles!

There are a load more suggestion to create your hygge moments in my book ” A Guide to Commonsense WellBeing”

Here are a few of my hygge moments:-

Walking along the Pembrokeshire coastal path looking out over the Irish Sea.
Snuggling up to watch a good film on a dark and wet winter afternoon.
Being aware of the garden bursting into life in Spring.
Dancing.
Being part of a team, working together to achieve a goal.

The list can go on and on!  For the rest of the year seek out, be mindful and saviour your hygge moments.  Place them in your memory jar so you can recapture the feeling of happiness.
I would love to hear about your hygge moments.

Tapping Tree

Tapping Tree

What is a Tapping Tree? Tapping can be used for almost everything that is causing you a problem.  That may be physical pain, an intrusive memory or past trauma, current anxiety, weight loss the list goes on!

We can also tap on the different levels of the issue and the Tapping Tree as explained by Nick Ortner  in The Tapping Solution demonstrates  the different aspects of an issue.

The Tapping Tree or any other kind of tree is made up of four parts – the leaves, branches, trunk and roots and each of these can correspond to what we can tap upon and I have put together a video to explain each part.

The Leaves

These represent the symptoms that we feel from our issue or problem.  It may be physical pain that we are experiencing or symptoms of anxiety such as tension in shoulders, busy thoughts, upset stomach.  By tapping on these symptoms we can alleviate them or eliminate them.

The Branches

The branches are our emotions or feelings.  Every issue or problem will bring with it an emotion about the situation whether it is sadness, grief, anger, stress, frustration or fear.  This is where tapping can really help to reduce the intensity of these emotions thus making us feel more in control or a sense that we can cope with the situation better.

The Trunk

The trunk is an actual event or situation.  It may be a situation that has yet to happen or a current event that we are involved with but by tapping on what is or has happened will help clear the impact that it may be having on us.

The Roots

The roots hold the tree together and they represent our underlying beliefs about ourselves.  We know that beliefs can both be empowering and limiting and can be formed from a very early age and are taken into our adulthood.  Beliefs are the fixed rules that we live our lives by and very rarely question whether they are still helpful to us.  We have beliefs about ourselves who we are, what we do, what we don’t do and are an integral part of our identity.  However these beliefs can keep us stuck and hold us back in our lives.  Tapping on these can produce the biggest shift in our progress to change.

We can tap on any of these parts but we know that the tree will continue to grow and live if the leaves are taken away, or the branches are cut off or if it is felled at the trunk.  It is only when we take the roots away do we totally clear out the issue for it not to return.

To get right to the underlying cause of the issue we need to tap on the beliefs and you can do this for yourself or have 1:1 sessions with an EFT practitioner.

Dramas and energy

Managing Dramas!

Dramas!  I expect we all have enough of them in our lives but it is the insidious, perpetual ones that can exhaust us and alter our own behaviour.  I recently re-read The Celestine Prophecy by James Refield , the sixth insight struck home about the control dramas that each of us have developed since childhood.

According to the book there are four types of control dramas and they all have a way of taking away energy from others.

Intimidator – aggressive behaviour, threatening physically or verbally, and the other person is forced to pay attention to them and so give energy.

Interrogator – asking questions and probing into the other person’s world in order to find fault or criticize.  The other person can then feel more wary or self-conscious thus giving their energy away to the “interrogator”.

Aloof – this is when the person creates a mystery or silence around them in order to get others to guess or search out how they are feeling.  The more they remain vague or non-communicative the more others are drawn into their energy to seek out what is going on.

Poor Me – when that person constantly focuses on everything that is horrible  happening to them, when nothing right happens for them.  This can have the effect of others somehow feeling responsible for this, feeling guilty thus once again giving away energy to them.

These behaviours have been described in many different ways such as assertive/aggressive/ passive or in parent/adult/child terms.

How we develop our own control dramas is often a result of our parents control dramas so an “Intimidator” can result in a “Poor Me” and an “Interrogator” in someone being aloof.

Equally aloof dramas can create an interrogator behaviour and a poor me approach can also result in an explosion into intimidator.

So how do we deal with these control dramas? As with most things, first of all be aware that it is happening and then, if appropriate reflect back to them what is happening.   For example:  “Rather than me guessing about X why don’t you tell me?” (Aloof)  “I realise that X has happened to you but I’m not responsible for it” (Poor Me).

The key approach after this is to send or treat the person, from your own place of energy and strength, with kindness and compassion, understand where they are coming from.  I realise that is not necessarily an easy thing to do but by changing the energy between the two parties you manage to retain your own energy and sense of self-worth whilst, hopefully, affecting the others person’s energy state into one of calmness, peace and compassion.

“We humans have always sought to increase our personal energy in the only manner we have known, by seeking to psychologically steal it from the others–an unconscious competition that underlies all human conflict in the world.” ― James Redfield, The Celestine Prophecy

Storytelling

Storytelling – do we still need it?

Listen with Mother and Jackanory are just two examples of storytelling from childhood memories.  Snuggling down alongside my Mum to listen to the radio or that quiet time listening and watching  the latest story on Jackanory before tea time still resonates today.  Both forms of storytelling held me enraptured and captivated by the words being spoken and the images created in my young mind.  The story allowed me as a young child to go into another world, to come away from the present and lose myself in the narrative of the theme.  For a child, storytelling whether through books, television or radio brought comfort, soothing, excitement and a tinge of fear and unknowingly an understanding of our world and a part within it.

Storytelling is an art form that has been in existence since mankind first inhabited this earth.  It was a way to share learning, to pass on crucial information and to evoke a sense of belonging.   Whilst in Namibia and visiting the oldest desert in the world, storytelling was in evidence in the form of rock art which were over 5000 year old, telling the story to the next reader of the type of game that could be found, where water was located and how to reach it.

Every culture has it ways to recount stories from one generation to another.  Storytelling is a link to our ancestors and their past knowledge but each story, retold over generations, fits its own modern paradigm.  Fairy stories illustrated this beautifully as they are redesigned each time with its own unique meaning to connect with contemporary culture.  Little Red Riding Hood was recreated by the Brothers Grimm to highlight the dangers of straying away from the path, the norm or the conventional.  It was thought that this story originated in 17th Century and known as Red Cap, often ended with the wolf and girl ending up in bed together!

Telling stories needn’t just be verbal, they can be drawn, written, sung and danced.  They can be in the form of riddles, fables, ballads and sayings.  Whatever the form, the key to the power of stories is the connection between speaker and listener – a connection from soul to soul with the receiver being an equal part of the process.  Each individual listener will perceive their own unique understanding of the underlining message within the folds of the story.  The listener needs to be ready to receive with open ears and heart and allow meaning to resonate within themselves.  How they absorb and embrace the meaning will be relevant to them at that current moment in time.  Great story tellers have that connection to their audience that engenders a curiosity to seek further understanding.

Maybe the art of storytelling has become diluted in the Western World, we have lost the respect of our elders and are so bombarded with constant information that the power of a single saying, theme  or sentence gets lost before it can be heard and assimilated.  However, within Shamanic practice storytelling is crucial for the connection with our ancestors, our understanding of the past, present and future and integral to personal growth.  So let us revere the Shaman’s skills at imparting knowledge and understanding through the ancient art of storytelling.

Tapping or EFT

Tapping as a Self-Help Tool

Tapping or Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) is a gentle, non-invasive and effective way to bring down intensity of emotions.  It has been used since the 1970s and more research is being done on this intervention indicating the effect it has on the brain and body.  As it is easy to learn and apply it can be an incredibly powerful technique that once learnt can be applied to almost anything and anywhere.

The basic theory behind EFT or Tapping is that all negative emotions are a result of disruption to the body’s energy system.  So by tapping on these energy systems, Meridians, the energy is re-adjusted and restored to bring about a different emotional state, reduced pain and a change of perspective on beliefs and thoughts.

EFT works on the emotional cause of such issues as:-

Pain, depression, anxiety, phobias, post traumatic stress disorder, panic, confidence issues, weight loss and cravings, stress, headaches, self-esteem to name just a few!

A part of the brain, the amygdala, is our alarm detector and any stressful, distressing emotion or thought triggers this alarm off to release such hormones as adrenaline and cortisol, keeping the body on fight/flight alert even with low grade persistent stress.  This can also link back into long term memories which continue to raise the intensity of emotion.

So by tapping on certain points the brain starts to relearn that although the thought/memory/emotion is distressing the alarm system starts to switch off as it is no longer feeling threatened.

A good example is post traumatic stress disorder where after Tapping is applied, the memory of the event remains but the emotion that was attached to it is no longer intense – it has reduced or completely disappeared.

Once you learn where and how to tap you can tap on symptoms such as pain, headaches, muscular tension.  You can tap on emotions such as anger, sadness, anxiety, fear, grief.  You can tap on an actually event such as going to the dentist, speaking to new people, public speaking and you can also tap on the limiting beliefs that underlie perceptions about ourselves and memories from childhood that have formed those beliefs.

There are many good examples of using Tapping on the internet such as The Tapping Solution and EFT Universe.

If you would like more information about how to use Tapping please feel free to contact me.

Abundance and generosity of Nature

Abundance from Nature

September is the month for gathering in the harvest and making use of the bounty in the hedgerows.  Since we were first on this Earth we have been making use of Mother’s Nature generosity and abundance to help us get through the darker leaner months of winter.

This year appears to have produced an abundance of blackberries , sloes and apples ready for the birds and animals to feast upon or for us, humans, to create alcoholic beverages and warming pies! We can’t always rely on produce being available and certainly farmers this year have had a tough time due to the harsh wet winter and then parched dry summer.  It is very easy to be removed from our food source and therefore not appreciate what we are receiving.

Recognition of food is highlighted in September with the harvest festival in Christian tradition and pagan celebrations of the Autumn equinox.  Whatever way we celebrate or appreciate our abundance it is not to be taken for granted and it is the same when we receive from others.  It is often a pleasure to give things or do things for free to others but we also need to be aware that by doing so we may  leave others indebted to us or become depleted in our own resources as we continually give but not look after ourselves.

One of the first things I learnt in Reiki after qualifying at Level One was that there needs to be an exchange of some kind.  People need to give back for what they receive in order to fully appreciate what has been given.  The exchange doesn’t need to be financial but can be in any shape and form.

The article Planting the Seeds of Generosity quite rightly talks about what we send out we get back in return so we need to balance what we can do for others and how we can best look after ourselves.   Just as nature works in balance with using the nutrients from the soil she also gives back by enriching it for the following year.

So when we gather our berries from the hedgerow or our beans from the garden or even the food we buy in supermarkets why not give something back in form of thanks or a gift to the earth that has provided us with this abundance.

Nature and well being

Using the Resources of Nature

We need only step outside and be embraced by nature.  Even in an urban environment we will walk under trees or pass by flowers growing up in cracks of pavement.  We will see the sky, feel the breeze and hear the sounds of birds.

Our ancestors knew the power of nature, learning how to read the signs, working alongside her and honouring her beauty and strength.  As human kind evolved we eventually moved away from nature putting our trust in new industry and technology.  Nature has never left us though and today we are more in need than ever to find health and peace from her.

Everything around is energy so it’s not surprising that sitting under a tree or walking along the banks of a stream can have a positive effect on our sense of well being.  Peace or the sounds of nature allow our minds to relax, to be free to wander in thought, to reflect or just be in the present moment.

Research is showing that being out in nature can reduce hypertension, decrease stress, improve mood and restore energy.  Just being outside for 5 minutes can lower blood pressure and if you combine it with using all your senses the overall effect is one of total immersion in the present moment.

Other benefits of being in nature include:-

  • Stress relief
  • Improved concentration
  • Increased mobility of joints
  • Creative thinking
  • Increased boost to immune system
  • Decreased anxiety and depression
  • Reduced risk of early death

 

Using nature’s resources is easy.  Just a 10 minute walk each day, take your time to see colours and shapes, tune into background and foreground noise, sense what you can feel, be aware of smells.

Over the year be aware of a specific tree and how it changes with the season – the flowers, fruit, bark and leaves.

Look up into the sky and notice the clouds, how they form, what shape they make and how they move.

If it is difficult to access the outdoors, indoor houseplants or growing seeds on the windowsill can also have health benefits.

Nature is free and all around us so make the most of it to boost your health.

 

(extracts taken from e-book A Guide to Common Sense Well Being)

 

tuning into our bodies

Tuning in to our Bodies

Our bodies are truly amazing and by tuning into our bodies it can help us in so many ways.  Our bodies are energy, parts of which regenerate continually so our body is not the same one we had a year ago.

According to Deepak Chopra how we live and relate to our bodies is based on our underlying beliefs about it.  Your body has unlimited potential and when you choose to consciously change your assumptions about it then change is manifested through our physical being.  Every day we can be exposed to a range of energy from others and the environment we inhabit.  Everything within our environment has an unseen energy that impacts upon our wellbeing and health.

By tuning into our bodies we are given a range of information that can support balance and harmony within.

An exercise that I have used many times with students both within Reiki and Neuro-lingusitic programming (NLP), is to stand still and ask your body to show you what “yes” is.  Notice how your body moves and in which direction.  Then do the same and ask your body to show” no” and again notice how it moves.

Once you have established how your body reacts to these responses you can then ask it many things.  If you want to know whether a certain food is good for you, hold the food or a picture of it in your hand and ask your body “do I need this food today?” and be aware of the yes or no response.  This is your body’s answer to go with or ignore! I use it to ask which crystals I would benefit from that day.  You may notice that the body stays still and that can relate to a maybe or it doesn’t matter response.

For placing items, ornaments, pictures around the home hold the item and ask if it is best placed in the south, west, east or north direction.

Ideally ask the body a question that has a yes or no answer and then be guided by the response.

Our gut instinct, the energy within, the communication of our bodies is a wonderfully gift that we all have the ability to pay attention to and appreciate.

So why not make the most of our truly wonderfully physical being and engage in subtle communication to bring harmony and wellbeing into our lives.

Fresh energy

Bringing In Fresh Energy

Energy is constantly around us – from our environment, from others and from ourselves.  We may be good at looking after ourselves through exercise, healthy food but how often we do think about the energy within our homes?  As the months get warmer we may do a bit of Spring cleaning which means cleaning and hovering, dusting and de-cluttering.  However, how often do we continue to “clean” our homes by cleansing the energy within them throughout the year?

Energy within rooms of the house can become stagnant and stale.  Have you ever had the experience  of walking into a house or room and it just feel uncomfortable although you may not know why? It can be because the air and atmosphere has become stuck, it is unable to circulate freely, so every now and then, in your own home, set the intention to bring in new, fresh healing energy.  We can do this in a variety of ways and here are some suggestions:-

  • Start with the intention in your mind of clearing away stale negative energy and replace with new, fresh healing energy
  • Clap your hands within each corner of a room
  • Use a singing bowl or chimes to create vibration
  • Positions crystals in strategies places, remembering to clean your crystals first
  • Smudge each room using Sage or Palo Santo
  • Hum or sing to increase vibration into the room
  • De-mist using water and a few drops of aromatherapy oils
  • Bring light into dark corners with lamps or candles
  • Rearrange your furniture so the energy can move freely
  • Create a through draught by opening windows and doors
  • Add flowers and houseplant
  • Play loud music and dance
  • Clean windows inside and out to attract light through them

Each season can be a great reminder to freshen up each room.  Do you have any other suggestions?