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.

 

 

 

 

 

Colouring Books

Have you seen the craze right now for adult colouring books, particularly for older people to not only give them something to do but to stimulate their brains and enable them to create something of beauty. We have our own colouring book around us in nature and I’ve never really looked at it in black and white before but today I did and it was glorious. Nature black and white and still looking beautiful? Well yes and just like the colouring book page when you pick up your pencils, you can give it life.

I went out when it was still dark for a run and it’s the first time in forever that I have been out in the dark and the world carries a whole different energy at that time of day. Just like being swathed in black and white. The roads, the leaves on the ground and the trees and hedgerows are all black and white. Even the sounds are devoid of colour – no birdsong and no traffic, just the thud of my feet pounding the lanes and the occasional rustle of dead leaves on the floor – apart from that a still black and white silence surrounded me.

And then, like the creator has felt the urge to get out his colouring pencils, little by little I see colour being sketched in. It’s misty still so it’s faded and subtle but colour begins. A gentle yellow in the grey clouds begins to be visible, the leaves instead of being black have a dark green tinge to them and there is an imperceptible light showing through the hedgerows, which no longer look to be a solid wall, but a lace veil of leaves with glimpses of birds, rabbits and sheep beyond.

As I reached the straight part of my run, at the very top of the hill, the canopy of trees that engulfed me opened up and it was as though the creator was no longer just using pencils but bold felt tips with rich autumnal colours in their palette. Orange, red, green and yellow appeared from nowhere, the sky was suddenly bright and welcoming and I felt, for the first time on that run, a smile cross my face, my chin lifted to the sky above me and I felt loved by the day. It was the most amazing sensation. Like I’d just met my love after a long day and they smiled at me to say “all is well, you’re home and I love you”. What an empowering, powerful and loving feeling colour gives.

So I have to ask the colour of your world? Black and white or bold, beautiful colour? What colours are you I wonder. When you greet someone at work, your child’s school, in the supermarket, at the pub, just out doing your thing in life…. what colour do people see? When people see me I hope they see red (not in an angry way) because it’s bold, beautiful, fiery, passionate, a statement of courage and empowerment but also loving and gentle. We all have days of black and white and that is okay (and actually black and white has a beauty of its own) but just remember you have your own set of pencils and felt tips or paints and have the ability to colour your day in any whichever way you choose. You are the creator of your life and you can make it look however you feel it to be.

Why not get out those colouring books today and play, be creative, be bold and brave in your choices and even if you choose a simple statement look of classic black and white, wear them well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Pan Inside

Ever seen the film Hook where the fabulous Robin William plays a lawyer who is actually Peter Pan? He doesn’t realise who he is and the lost boys are trying to help him. A small boy holds his face, squeezes his cheeks, stretches his skin to remove the age lines, looks deep into his eyes and says “there you are Peter”. A poignant moment if you turn it on yourself. 

Have you ever felt lost? You look in the mirror and yet the person looking back at you isn’t who you expected to see at all. Have you ever felt like you are somewhere inside but you just can’t quite find you? Have you ever wondered where the you you remember being has gone? I know I felt that way for a long time and whilst never a lost boy I knew that feeling very well indeed. 

Someone with a beautiful heart took my face in their hands, squeezed my cheeks, stretched away the lines and looked into my eyes and said “there you are”. Through all the pain, the sadness, through the visible darkness of my inner being that I wore on my skin, they saw me and they made it their mission to help me find my happy thought so I could  fly again. 

What’s your happy thought? What memory or dream gets you up in the morning; especially on the darkest days where you can’t see anything beautiful, where your chest feels heavy and you can’t breathe and where your eyes focus inwards only, inwards to the sad sorrowful self inside. At that moment what’s your happy thought?

Mine makes my chest warm, my eyes sparkle and my heart fill to bursting point. My happy thought makes me feel invincible, makes me believe I can do and achieve anything I set my mind to. It makes me glow on the inside which finds its way out and makes it visible to anyone who comes across me. I have enough of everything all of a sudden and I am enough. 

When I am enough I have more to give and even if it means all I achieve in a day is to make one person smile or feel better about their day, then I have paid my happiness forward. If one person feels more beautiful, happier, at peace or stronger because we’ve interacted, how amazing is that and oh so easy. It’s free and it’s simple. 

If you have your happy thought and no longer feel lost, pay it forward in thought or deed. If you are still a lost boy, allow yourself that moment with another human who can see the person you still are and give them permission to help set them free. “I believe in you Peter Pan”.

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.

 

 

 

 

Warrior Women

“The crunch of feet in time on the gravel slipping away to a gentle swish as feet find grass. The occasional flick of a stone as a foot loses footing or scuffs as they tire. The rhythmical left right, left right; sometimes one speeding, sometimes one slowing but always forming backing into a natural rhythm. Side by side, two determined soldiers march towards what? They don’t know. Just marching on to the future, side by side, step by step, shoulder to shoulder, friend alongside friend. Warrior Women whom no one can now defeat.”

I wrote this after a few days on retreat and it came from the silent walk I went on every morning, side by side with a relative stranger. That relationship in the silence created itself, evolved and became a beacon of strength, oneness and absolute synchronicity in thought and deed. A most powerful experience of sharing time with another person, without word, thought or deed. Just silence and space.

Both on journeys; in different times and with different emotions but from the pain, hurt, realisation, choice, determination to succeed, empowerment and desire to grow and be a better person, came a bond that was almost palpable on those silent excursions.

It clarified for me all I have thought and tried to do with and for others in my life. When you just give space to someone, something will grow and it will be so bold, so courageous, so beautiful and unique that it will shine like a beacon on the darkest winter night for everyone to see, feel and taste in the air as they pass by. Giving space for someone to take a real breath, maybe the first one they have ever really experienced, is so very important. That breath is the first and its a life saver and a life giver. No longer will they exist within the world they have cocooned themselves in, but they will live in a world that they create, over time and with patience, determination and whole lot of the most important ingredient – love.

Silence – the second gift that is given. Talking has its place and is vital to any healing process or growth but sometimes, right at the beginning you just need silence. Silence to think. Silence to argue with yourself. Silence to approve or disapprove of the way you live and act. Silence to really listen to your heart and your head and decide, maybe for the first time ever, which you are going to listen to and go with. Silence to begin. Silence to learn to let go and silence to simply be at one with yourself and the world around you.

For many, me included, this can be a very painful and gut wrenching experience – that moment when you face yourself for the very first time. It can and will, be cleansing but to face yourself and decide what you like, what you don’t, what can stay and what has to leave is massive. It is, if you are doing it with love, honesty and authenticity also the most amazing experience and I guarantee, absolutely life changing. But first to begin….

To begin you have to make choices. To stay where you are or to move forward (even one small step, one brief shuffle is still forward). That may seem an obvious decision and a simple thing to do but, when you are in a deep dark hole and can see no present and no future, only past, it is the biggest, most difficult adventure you will ever choose to go on. But, if you listen to your thoughts and feel with your heart you will know it’s an adventure you cannot afford to miss out on.

Life will change and change is uncomfortable but change is also the very best, most exciting, passionate, emotional experience you will have had, maybe in your whole lifetime. So miss out or not? Choices…. you have them and only you can make them.

Let your adventure write itself but I will get the ball rolling with the ever original “Once upon a time, there was a person whose desire above anything else in the world was to be happy, at peace with themselves and loved…….” you have permission to write the rest – it’s your story…..

 

 

 

Aloneness or loneliness?

Sat in silence with a feeling of loss wrapping itself around me like a cloak. Gentle, comforting and yet a little uncomfortable. 

I’m comfortable with alone so is this loneliness? 
Far away in a place that has the loudest silence you are faced with yourself and that in itself is satisfyingly uncomfortable. Tears on your cheek whilst you consider your oneness with the grass you sit upon. 
Crickets chirruping. The wings of butterflies suddenly loud in the silence. The breeze blowing dried out stems of sunflowers. 
Being alone is sometimes the best place to be. To reflect. To contemplate. To feel not only what’s inside but what the outside is feeling like to you. To listen. To breathe… in silence. 
Being lonely is different. This seems to leave a void that this beautiful stillness cannot fill. This is harsh not gentle. This is colder somehow. This is not comfortable and I do not like how it feels. 
Breathe. Just breathe. Let go. It’s just fear. It’s insecurity. It’s lack of faith. It’s a fear that you aren’t good enough. It’s ego. It’s past running up behind you yet you are the one in control of whether it joins you as you sit looking out on silence or whether you choose to change direction. 
A crack behind me, a crunch, as though a deer in the trees is stamping its foot to let me know it’s here and I am in it’s space. I wish it would step into the light away from the darkened edges of the woods but maybe that is what I need to do. Step away from the dark and into the light again. 

Choices. We all have them. To stay in the dark and feel cold and lost and lonely or to step into the sunlight just beyond where we sit and enjoy the warmth and the comforting sound of life around us. Even alone this has to be better than choosing to stay when you know you have to go. 

You, the universe

The universe is all we see around us. The universe is where we live. The universe is big and bold and beautiful. The universe is all this and the universe is inside you. You are the universe.

When we look inside and see the same magic of the universe but within us, we can find our peace, our silence, our home.  It’s not easy, I understand that but who said life was going to be?

Our universe is a vast array of wild, passion, calm, silence, fire, air, earth, water, breath and like you it began from a small moment in time where a miracle took place. If this is the outside, why I ask myself, can this also not be inside you, me, us? “There’s none so blind….” and we prove this every day giving out and therefore giving into negativity; asking for more but never giving it; crying for peace when we don’t even accept it within ourselves.

You. That beautiful, miraculous, loving, intelligent, questioning, giving person is everything but only when you accept that all you are is all you need to be. Spending so many years trying to be more and eventually finding my peace when I just looked inside and accepted who I was and was good enough, made me see how ridiculous I had been searching, scrabbling around in the dust, wandering like a nomad searching for the perfect home, when it was right wherever I was.

Possibility. Look up to the skies on a clear night and you can see for many, many miles but what is beyond? We know a little from those who have ventured to the edge of our world but the universe is way, way more expansive than that and what’s there? Possibility. That is what there. What drove us as human beings to build rockets that propelled us into a realm we had no knowledge of? Possibility. What drives people every day to step back from their life and see what else is there? Possibility. There is no reason to doubt what you can achieve, everything can be done if you believe.

Spend a little time today just sat somewhere quiet, somewhere that is your space, somewhere comfortable and close your eyes. Breathe. Be aware of your body, how you are sat or lay, how you feel, your heartbeat, your breath. Breathe. Take a quick peak at the universe within you and really feel what it’s like to live in there. Let the external universe go and stay within. Breathe. Slow down. Rest. Stay awhile with the person you are and see who’s there. You may not recognise them but even if it’s a while since you spent time with yourself, you will find something familiar so take comfort from them.

The universe is an amazing place and full of magnificent places to explore but I promise that when you visit your inner universe you will find yourself in awe at who you already are and be excited by the prospect of where you can go next. Make life a journey and be the explorer. Explore you! Like the universe around us YOU ARE AMAZING!

 

 

Kissing. Eyes shut? Eyes Open?

When you kiss do you have your eyes closed or open?

A friend of mine, Tom Wilde, posted a fabulous question today and it got me thinking… “Why do we close our eyes when we kiss? Our eyes close when a quality chocolate or a fine wine melts on our tongue or when we taste a delicious meal, cry, pray, meditate and orgasm. All for the same reason. On the surface it looks as if closing our eyes is an escape, but scientists have found that it is the exact opposite.We close our eyes to intensify our presence and pleasure…”

Tom is a marvellous creative who has a beautiful way with words and really stimulates my thought processes and this for me made me ask myself about my own life. Have I gone though my life with my eyes open or my eyes closed?

Now then, this is the interesting thing for me because without reading Toms words I would probably have said eyes closed because I think I forgot to see the beauty of everything around me and sank deeper, deeper into a world I didn’t recognise or value. After reading Toms words my answer is still the same but my eyes were closed because I needed to feel, touch and taste my world. I needed to experience everything, good and bad, to actually understand the world around me and therefore myself.

See how just a simple change in the way you consider things can make it so very different.

When you journey through your day are you the person who builds an invisible wall around yourself to keep people out or to use your imagination as to what is on the outside? Do you want to block people or events from coming near or are you trying to experience your world on a new and very different level? When you find yourself in a difficult situation are your eyes open to ensure you see everything that is going on or are your eyes shut tight to feel your gut and allow that to lead you through? If you are with the person you most adore are your eyes open to ensure that they don’t escape or someone else distracts them away from you, or are your eyes closed because you want to savour all you share in the essence of that moment in time with them?

In your work life are you working eyes open or closed? Eyes open to watch your back or eyes closed to savour what you do? Eyes open to see where you are going and all the obstacles or eyes closed to be aware of your surroundings on a different level? Are you able to trust yourself to make decisions with your eyes closed? Which way do you look at your business I am curious to know and how much trust, belief and authenticity do you experience to be able to close them on occasion and be present in what you do?

To experience a single kiss with the person you love most in the universe with your eyes closed is to taste a little piece of heaven. To savour every miniscule touch, breath, electrical impulse and tsunami of emotion does indeed bring you and keep you in the present moment, experiencing something with someone so perfect it can rarely be defined, explained or be given a price tag.  To open them briefly and find the mirror of your emotions looking back at you is bliss… eyes, the doorway to your soul.

This is how to live life to the full, like the perfect kiss…. warm, loving, passionate, simple and present.