Just a vessel…..

I saw a lovely quote today about what a therapist does and it got me thinking…. what do I actually do to earn a living?

I’m nothing more than a vessel….

That doesn’t sound very productive, satisfying or fruitful when you put it like that does it. God do I actually do anything or am I a fraud, just someone pretending they can heal and serve people?

It’s an uncomfortable place I am sitting in even contemplating this. Why uncomfortable? Because the only proof I have that I do anything is the person I am working with. They feel better yes but have I done anything or is this just the placebo effect? Does it really matter which it is? So many thoughts and questions and bundles of self doubt….

Many questions, many self doubts, many answers that could be given.

So lets contemplate what I actually do? Physically I massage and relax. Emotionally I empower someone to face and release. Energetically I shift, I slow down, I speed up. Mentally I create breath. Spiritually I allow peace to settle in. Okay so that sounds like I’m dong something right?

Let’s think about this. Someone comes to me, they are a businessman or woman;  they are someone struggling with bereavement; they are mentally exhausted; they are stressed, overworked or overwhelmed. They are trying to be many things to many people. There is noise in their heads and they can no longer hear anything or anyone never mind think straight or find peace. They know that change is required for them to be a better person, feel better, be present, love, laugh, live. They don’t know what to do to find that because the noise is too loud to even concentrate. They call me…

I invite them to my treatment room, my quiet space and we talk. Nothing more. We need to see if there is a connection. They have to feel comfortable with me and I have to know they are ready.

Only then can the magic begin and we begin their journey with a massage. This is not your sports massage or your deep tissue – this is pressure, weight, a slow and firm and flowing pressure; this is creating a space in their heads, not for them to think but for them to breathe; allowing energy from the universe to travel through me to them and vice versa. Making a safe space for them to open emotional boxes they have kept locked; say something, everything or nothing. That is the joy this isn’t about me or what I want them to do, this is about me creating a space for them to do; learn to do; try to do whatever they need to reach the point they need to be at.

After that we may do sessions where we walk and talk, we may try some reiki, we may stick to massage or we may just catch up once a week on skype to check in and talk through anything that has cropped up during the week. We keep in touch. We build a relationship. We communicate. We do whatever is required.

Oh! I am a vessel. Not a hollow, useless one but a safe, quiet, gentle, loving vessel that someone who needs to change can utilise to find themselves, to heal themselves, to be themselves; to be.

Wow I love my job. No! I don’t have a job – I have a passion, a calling, a purpose.

 

 

 

 

 

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The Blink of an Eye or Forever?

How long does it take someone to let go? For some it can take a lifetime and for some in the blink of an eye.   Firstly let’s see if you are asking this of someone else or yourself. Are you living with someone, working with someone, loving someone who is in need of letting go? If you are, let me make it clear that you should never put a timeframe on their transformation as it is none of your business – this is their personal journey. All you can do is be there and walk alongside them.  Also realise that you should never try to put a timeframe on your own journey…. you will always feel a failure as it will always feel it is taking too long.

We live in a world of instant gratification and yet some things simply take a while and you have to let them take all the time they need. Acceptance of this is key to letting the process evolve. Acceptance that at some point they or you will find a time and place where it’s that moment and all you can do is simply surrender to all you are holding in and it flows from you, either in tears, thoughts, anger, or simply a breath that seems to go on forever. It will be as though your body can contain it no more and it has to come out. It would be like trying to hold back a dam with your hands – impossible.

If you know there is work to be done then you are already taking huge steps to change, grow, transform. That recognition alone is a long way down your experience so acknowledge that and give yourself a well done pat on the back. If you feel you are making progress then be grateful for how far you have come. Never look back unless it is to see how far you have already progressed – sometimes it’s good to take a glance over your shoulder as it is easy to forget how many battles you have won and how many changes, even small ones, you have already made.

If I look over my shoulder I can’t even see the me I was and unless someone shows me a photo or brings up something from the past I have no recollection of the person I was then – not even six years ago, in fact maybe not even three and hell anything farther back and I simply don’t exist. It is like someone has given me a new body, a new headspace and a new pair of eyes to see my world with. I do see me from my early 20’s as that is where I was at my happiest and most comfortable and most free. The she then is the me now with some additions and I love her.

It is possible to change. It is possible to become a new person or simply regain the person inside that you loved being the most. Whatever you think or say and believe, you can achieve. You have to believe that to even begin to move, to transform, to grow, to be. You have to recognise there is magic inside each and every one of us that allows us to not just reinvent who we are but regrow a new you from the inside out – but there is the key – it has to come from the inside and it has to come from inside you which is why no matter how much nagging, imploring, cajoling others do – it has to be time and you have to feel the desire from the very core of your soul. A ‘nice to have’ is not enough. This has to burn inside you so brightly that you cannot help but begin to shine and shine you will.

You may hear a piece of music, read a book, watch a film, see a photograph. You may be inspired by another’s achievements, you may simply reach rock bottom and have no choice but move. There are many triggers and they will be different for everyone. For me there was a simply resignation that I could call it a day or change and the former was not an option, I had to be there for my kids but I had to be a better version – I had to be more – I was more – I knew it and I stepped through that door called fear and found another space on the other side that was really very beautiful and I stayed a while….

I still have moments of release and letting go of things I hold onto inside and I accept that to be the best I can be I have to change, I have to let go, I have to learn and I have to make some tough decisions sometimes. But, I have always found that through those doors of choice there is always another room full of possibilities – all I have to do is choose which one I go with next. If you hand is on the door handle, turn it. If you are stood by the door reach out. If you are in the middle of the room, when you get the urge take one step…. it’s all it takes and when you feel that something growing inside and needing to get out, don’t be afraid – find your courage and let it go….. I wish you well on your journey.

 

 

 

 

 

….but giving life

If yesterday was the beginning of letting go, today was the release. Deep rooted, gut wrenching, sorrow filled sobbing. I guess letting go means that you have to empty all that you are, all that you have inside  and only then can you have truly released all.

It began with a massage yesterday and I felt from the very core of me, deep inside my womb the stirring of a memory. It was astonishingly realistic and I guess that’s because to my physical and mental being, my daughter was real. She may have lived for only a short time and then became a memory but my body remembered her.

It ended with a massage. As with yesterday, when deeply relaxed and in another world the stirring began and I knew this was it… she wanted to go home and yet I wanted to hold her hand a little while more. That voice inside told me it was time and with a wrenching deep inside, just like giving birth to her, she was free. It was the most surreal experience, so real and yet just an emotional energy being released from the first home she knew.

The tears began and even though I stifled them, I held them in, I breathed to keep myself calm, they were out; she was free and I had to let her go. With her went my love, my heart, my soul and I asked the universe to keep her safe. Sobbing like a child, I had to just let the tears roll uncontrollably down my cheeks until the breathing settled, a calm was felt and my baby was gone.

She’s gone home but always here, just around me rather than kept inside. I was keeping her from moving on and in turn keeping myself in the same state. I had to take the responsibility of being a mummy and let her go, just as you do when they take their first steps, start school or find a love of their own. Letting go so they can fulfil their own destiny.

I thought I’d feel lost and empty and sad but I actually feel calm, peaceful and silent. A foundation for a feeling I thought wouldn’t come. Life from death. It can take a moment or forever but you have to choose it, you have to release whatever your hurt is and you have to say thank you for all you’ve gained from that moment in time; for me, five months where it was just she and I. My Sarah.

Not giving birth…

I’m speaking mainly to ladies but maybe the men will hear the words if not the emotions. I’m a woman so I don’t know the experience of a man during a pregnancy. 

Giving birth to a little person is the biggest, most overwhelming, emotional experience I have ever had. It’s huge. Its beautiful. It’s painful. It’s an emotional roller coaster from the first moment of morning sickness to the actual holding of this new little life, this miracle that you’ve created. 

When you begin with the morning sickness but never get to the delivery stage it’s like all the emotions your body should be feeling can’t be completed and they get locked inside. Never to leave you. Never to be let loose into the universe. You grieve. 

You grieve for the loss of a baby, the new life you should be holding not mourning. You grieve for the loss of something in your relationship. You grieve for the part of you that is now locked up. If you have the support you can let this grief do its thing then let it go. This may take a minute or it may take a lifetime but you can and will let go. 

It doesn’t just go all at once and you may have to live with some things for many years but some thing at some time will tell you it’s time… today was my day. 

Today that little voice inside “it’s okay to let me go mama” and this writing is my means, my voice, my emotional release. The words from my heart to paper keep the feelings alive, keep Sarah alive, but not inside me anymore. Now they and she are free and back in the universe where they always belonged.

Watching the horizon

“I’ve been staring at the edge of the water as long as I can remember, never really knowing why. I wish I could be the perfect daughter but I come back to the water, no matter how hard I try. Every turn I take, every trail I track, every path I make, every road leads back to the place I know, where I cannot go. Where I long to be… See the line where the sky meets the sea? It calls me and no one knows, how far it goes. If the wind in my sail on the sea stays behind me. One day I’ll know. If I go there’s just no telling how far I’ll go.” How Far I’ll Go

If you have young children, or like me you love children’s films, you will know this song is from Moana, the story of a young girl born with expectations from her family, her village and her past and yet somewhere deep inside she knows there is more beyond what she can see. She looks to the horizon and sees opportunity, possibility and a dream that she knows she must follow…. no matter what the consequences. Do you ever feel that way? I know I do.

I often look out and see so much more – not a desire to have more but a need to see more, do more, experience more, be more. It is a desire so strong in my gut that it can hurt sometimes. I can feel it right deep inside. A place that screams out for the courage to step out, step away and walk towards that horizon. Ignoring it can be exhausting and stifling, like the very breath inside of me is being stolen. We waste so much time accepting what we have because it is comfortable, or safe, or easy but as you get older there is a part of you that begins to desire more. Time is short. Time is devoured by everything we do, every day and if we don’t take control of it we can find suddenly its too late. That is not happening for me any more.

I am standing on the shoreline and I can see that horizon, golden with the morning sunlight and I am ready to set sail on a new adventure. The initial journey began a few months ago but now the desire is so strong it is palpable and I have to set sail. This is going to be upsetting, uncomfortable and sad because it is time to say goodbye and I am useless at this. There will be tears and heartache but fighting this is not an option anymore. Change. It is a process none of us generally choose purely because of the emotional upset it brings but we also know that change is the only thing that stands between what is and what can be.

Tools are needed. Tools to assist with mindset, personal growth, courage and strength but they are available to everyone if you are prepared to try them. It just takes a desire, discipline and making time in your day to do them every day – no not hours, just one a day can be enough – more is good but not always possible – an hour can be found, if the desire is strong enough, in anyone’s day.

Passion is crucial. If you aren’t passionate about where you want to go and what you want to do there it will never happen. That burning desire, that fire in your belly that will not be dampened down no matter how many nay sayers there are in your life and in your way. That butterfly that seems to be doing warp speed inside you every time you dream of what can be and, if you are dreaming of what can be, it simply can.

Courage. Letting go, instigating change, creating a new life, reaching and achieving your dream all take courage. There will be times when you doubt your decision but courage, mixed with a whole lot of self belief, will see you through those times and if you think you might waiver, find someone who shares your dreams and will keep you going on the days where you have treacle stuck to your shoes. Someone who will slip those sticky shoes off and tell you that you are capable of running this barefoot!

I dare you to dream. I dare you to stand on the waters edge and take a look at that horizon and tell me what you see. If it is more than what you have or who you are where you are now stood, is today the day you decide to step into the water? I’m in up to my knees and there is no telling how far I’ll go but if I stay here too long my feet will sink into the sand and I will become nothing more than who I am… and for me that is not enough.

 

 

 

 

A song to be sung

“To love someone is to learn the song in their heart and sing it to them when they have forgotten it”.

What beautiful words that have captured my thoughts today. I feel that sometimes I have to be in peoples lives to sing their song and its the biggest honour I could be given. I am blessed to have people in my life who trust me and that alone is something we should all be grateful for – to have someone or to be someone where trust is earned, built and maintained. Without it you have nothing.

When I was deep in my depression; stuck, walking in treacle, when every movement and every thought took a huge effort, I forgot how to sing. I mean this literally as well as figuratively. I used to love to sing – it was my expression of exactly how I felt and during this time, particularly on my worst days I could no longer see, feel or hear music. Emotionless. Barren. Uncaring. Silent. Silence being the worst as then there is you and your own thoughts and that is a very unpleasant place to be when you already hate all you are and all you pertain to be.

I forgot how to sing and yet someone, my beautiful Jane, took me by the hand and sang back to me the soul she saw. Even now I get goosebumps when I see myself, the me I had lost, reflected back in her eyes. She saw inside and knew I was more than I said or thought I was and she began to hum the tune that was in time with the rhythm of my soul. I neither wanted to or could join in but she didn’t care and she kept on humming. In time as she saw a flicker in me, she added words. Those words were the very essence of my own song long since forgotten….. love, care, courage, harshness (yes that is needed too to face reality), kindness, confidence and most of all trust. Eventually I heard myself hum along and that was it I was on the road to be a singer once more. She sang alongside until we both needed to sing for others but for the song and the singer I am eternally grateful.

If you feel you can no longer hear the tune you used to sing along to; maybe because you have lost someone, have an illness that has become larger than yourself, are lost and afraid of who you have become or indeed who you have lost along the way, or just need to move from where you are, listen to those around you and see if they are singing it instead. You may find you don’t want to listen, you may not be ready to listen but note who is singing as they will still be there when you are ready. They are holding space for you and it will always be for you, no matter how long you need to take. Maybe no one around you is able to sing your song and you have to search a little wider – you may come across them in the oddest and most unexpected places but if you are looking they will know and you will find each other.

I have known it be the case that you don’t even know that you are humming a tune for someone, so if people appear in your life but you don’t really understand why, trust. Trust that you are meant to be there for them and do not mistrust them or the instinct in your heart to hum or give words (more commonly know as hope). Go with it as you may just be the singer they need. Be honoured – its a gift and blessing that you don’t own – you have earned it somehow and they deserve to learn to sing once more.

 

 

 

 

A forever love

A snapshot of time. A moment. A forever. A captured memory. A single frame that when viewed creates a complete movie in your mind. The past, the present and the possibilities of life ahead, all caught in a stillness that cannot be described, just felt.

Love. That deepest of all connections that two people can have and all captured in a single photograph.

How much can you read from that single snapshot of time?  Everyone can see what’s there but only those in it know what the eye cannot see. Only those there at that moment in time can know the reason, the emotion, the invisibility of what is said in the eyes, the posture, the closeness, the body language, the stillness and the silence that envelopes them.

Time. Captured time. But now it is time for me to say what is inside that until now I was simply not ready to set free. I was too afraid to face my reality, too afraid to hurt or be hurt, too afraid to open up and maybe be knocked down by discovering that the photograph inside my head is wrong. Now, when I set this picture free, I have to be prepared to face the consequences.

Letting it go? I stand tall and say to the universe “here you are, take this photograph and do what you will with it. Let these captured emotions fly on the winds of energy, of space, of time and seek out the person, the place and the opportunity for them to find what they need.”

No longer prepared to hold this all inside, I need to set this free and acknowledge its existence. There can be no shame in love. In wanting someone or something. In seeking truth, authenticity and happiness. 

Once you have freed that raw, delightful, playful thought, it will manifest itself and so be prepared for the time of your life! This will become your reality and it will become your normal and it will become the greatest emotion of all time; remaining with you, just like the photograph, for all to see. 

Maybe they won’t understand, maybe they disapprove. Your dreams, my dreams, they are not there for others to understand, approve or judge. Fly with your dreams as your gift from the universe will be whatever you created in that photograph in your head.

The look in silence

If you know someone well you know how they look at you, you are aware of their reactions, you can read them like a book. It doesn’t matter what comes from their lips, if you know them you know what they say without words. 

I have one of those faces that has trouble matching with my mouth when I say “I’m fine” or “yes that’s great” or “I’m happy, really I am”. In a time gone by when my words were half truths, my face gave me away and those who knew me, watched but didn’t listen. Those who loved me knew a hug was in order when my words didn’t match my face anymore. 

There are some I have known for many years and yet I sometimes wonder why I see a different face to the one I thought I understood. What is happening in their life for this change to be so visible? What emotions are they experiencing that throw a shadow over the face I thought I knew. Something’s different but what?

Tired. Stressed. Anxious. Depressed. Sadness. Fear. Anger. To me these are all emotions I can see behind your eyes because I’ve been there and I understand what you do to cover up what’s inside. Sparkle. Joy. Wildness. Elation. Love. Peace. Optimism. These too can be seen and no words are required at all. I recognise these too because I see them in my own eyes every morning in the mirror. It is possible to go from one to the other. It is possible to lie to your eyes and yet eventually start believing in the words.

Transformation is huge. From sadness to sparkle. Words dragging emotions from deep inside until one day you hear yourself answer with “I’m fine” and realise for the first time you mean it. That one time becomes two, becomes regularly, becomes often, becomes reality.

Your words and your eyes I realise don’t always match when you speak to me but one day I know they will because I believe in you. One day you will look at me and words won’t be required. I see you. I read you. I know you. I believe in you. 

One day you will look me in the eye and I will just know how far you’ve come and pride will flash right back at you. 

Surrender

Yesterday evening was movie night. Not something I do often as I’m pretty useless as sitting all the way through a film, especially if it has a plot that goes all over the place. I like to watch a movie to simply be lost in the magic and become part of the movement on the screen, not to think too much about who is where doing what and how that links in with sub plots. So that said I went to see Dunkirk.

We all know the story don’t we? Well I thought I did but when you are faced with an adaptation of reality on the screen you begin to doubt you really knew anything at all. The sheer horror and fear but endless courage of these men and women was there in front of me and the real heart stopping moment for me was a medical ship leaving Dunkirk to take the wounded home. It was filled to the brim with the wounded and the dying, the medical staff and navy personnel. It was yards from the beaches when it was bombed and we had to watch the full horror of these already suffering men and women, as they surrendered to the sea.

Surrender. A powerful word in itself but an even more powerful action to have to endure. Surrender is the biggest thing you can do to experience who you are and your purpose in life. These men and women had no choice. The enormity of the ship, the ocean and their ultimate destiny far outweighed their strength to fight and this is the crux of surrender. How much strength do you have to fight? There comes I think, a point where there is no fight left, no desire to battle anymore and no energy left to strive to beat whatever is your enemy.

Mine was my own self and my mental health. What’s yours?

I fought myself for so very long and day in day out I was my own battlefield. My head, my heart, my physical body and my mental acuity, fighting, coming to blows, knocking one down and then being taken down by another. A constant barrage of fire. A constant alertness to avoid this enemy frontline of anger, guilt, trying to be the best at everything, being all to everyone and no one, perfection banging on the door constantly reminding me of my failings. It was exhausting and finally I simply had to surrender.

Surrender….. how did it feel? Perhaps you think difficult, traumatising, energy zapping and painful but no, in fact it couldn’t have been more peaceful, more beautiful and more serene. It was letting go of pain, hurt, emotional blackmail, fear, anger, ego, fight and just allowing quiet, harmony, reflection and serenity to come in. It was really quite beautiful. Imagine your worst nightmare day with noise, stress, anger, pushing, shoving, aggression, hurt, pain and a constant noise in your head that you can’t switch off. Then imagine silence, being wherever you are most at peace and doing the most relaxing thing you can imagine and then let go there. Sink into a warm, gentle place, where you are loved and safe and at peace with not only your surroundings but yourself. That my friend is surrender.

It will be different for everyone and its a place we should all experience in our life. Its not about giving in, losing or finality, it is most definitely a place from where you grow. These soldiers didn’t get to live but my heart likes to think at that split second of surrender they found peace. 

Would you like to find yours? I’ll walk alongside you if you do. I get you. I know you. I feel you. 

 

 

Time

What is time? We hear ourselves say all the while that we don’t have enough or it’s running short or we’ve wasted it but what is it?

Lineal time is what we live by. That clock, that watch, the routines, the structure of our work day, the tick tick tick of the hands we constantly watch, eating away at our lives second by second.

I lived by the clock for so many years and became totally dependent on it for what I was doing and where I was. At no point did I think I could stop and take as long over something as it required my attention. Never did I realise I was living by the clock, and living by the clock for others and never myself.

When I was younger and hadn’t chosen to live by the clock I danced and sewed and painted. Never did I once say I’d do this for ten minutes or an hour, I gave it whatever time I felt it needed, I needed. How soon we forget that experience. I lived then by my internal clock, the one that healed me, made me who I was and the one that had no relevance to what the clock on the wall or the external world told me to work by. I didn’t give it up for anyone out of choice, I had a husband and a family and a job and naturally felt they all needed me, so divided my time up (and therefore me) accordingly. I didn’t once think about finding time for me to make sure that at some point I pulled all the sections of me that I had chosen to divide up, back to one, to be one. I never realised that by not including myself and thinking I was being something to all, I was actually being nothing to anyone.

I lost the ability to hear my internal clock and I lost the ability to self heal, love myself, be the person inside and I stepped out of myself and dictated what and who and where and when by the hands tick, tick, ticking on the watch attached to my wrist. My heart began to beat to this new time.

Only on reaching rock bottom did I realise I had to take the watch from around my wrist and throw it away. Never have I put it back on and never have I lived by it beyond the extent I felt in control of it. It can be done. I found time again and I made new time. Time to heal, time to live, time to laugh, time to love, time to protect, time to grow, time for my family and my friends and time to do whatever I felt I’d like to do, and no longer what I thought I should do. I live within a world of lineal time but I’m alive by being in my internal time.

When you hear yourself say “I don’t have time” or you wonder where the day has gone when all you’ve done is run around for everyone else or you get to the end of the week and lie exhausted on the sofa – ask yourself why you didn’t find time for yourself. An hour or two a week – are you not worth it? You may find giving yourself an hour gives your loved ones a much happier, livelier, fun version of the person who stretches themselves beyond reach. Hmm, I wonder which they’d choose?

Finding time is about being present and that takes no time at all.