Unloading Boxes

Oh wow how much of your “things that hurt” have been boxed up and never addressed, looked at or dealt with? How many boxes do you have of “stuff” that you either can’t or won’t take a look at? Which of these boxes do you think need unpacking at some point and dealing with? Are you ready now? Tomorrow? Are you procrastinating because it is gonna hurt? Yeah, I did too but open them we must.

The truth hurts, the lies hurt, the past hurts, the future hurts. Sound familiar? No one can make you even take a look at these boxes never mind go near them and lift the lid. No one, no amount of external pressure, nothing and no one but you can make this decision. The choice belongs to you – only you! But, when you decide to peep under that lid you so firmly closed, whilst painful and scary, it will also be exhilarating, making progress,  a relief, a breath of fresh air and will move you forward.

I had a wonderful coping mechanism with my hurt and pain and sad – I put it in a box and then I dug a hole and buried it as deep as I could. I thought that was enough to make it go away and I could just get on with life. How marvelously naive. No one told me that at some point and as if by magic, the universe gives these boxes some kind of magical power and they wriggle and jiggle and move and somehow they would create a nagging voice in the back of my head, or a jab in my heart or a suffocating weight in my chest until it was so overwhelming I had to make a choice of giving in or dealing with it. I chose the latter but so many do not.

I talked! I talked and talked. Once that initial thought of ‘release’ was created it gave life to words and they flowed. They flowed onto paper first, then they flowed onto your screen and then they flowed from my lips and the box lid was lifted and out it all came. The funny thing was, I thought once the lid was lifted I would lose control of what came out and the speed and the amount would be beyond me. But no. I had support, I had people who cared and I had a determination in my gut to be strong and do this in my time and at my pace. I didn’t know how, I didn’t necessarily understand why but I knew when and I knew I had to move from where I was. Staying where I was, was actually more painful than opening the boxes I discovered.

I talked. I spoke my truth. I dealt with what I could and I released the pain of what I couldn’t out into the universe and asked her to send it where it should go. Then I had to begin the journey of forgiveness. Forgiveness first and foremost to myself and then to those who had hurt me and then back to me for also hurting them. Forgiveness, I discovered, is a huge step towards emptying the boxes. In fact it is a bit like emptying the box and then jumping on it and squashing it flat, ready for recycling. It is like the satisfaction of popping bubble wrap.

This was not easy and I have to remember that when I walk alongside those beginning their journey. This was painful. This contained tears. I had to recreate and live some of the pain and I hated every second of it sometimes BUT (and there is a great and glorious BUT) I did it, I survived and I found that magical place we all want to go to – happiness. Boxes are great for storage but at some point, if you want to travel to happiness, you have to unpack them and deal with the contents. Gather around you those you trust, you care for, who love you and ask them to stand with you. Peep first or tear back the lid like a huge sticking plaster but be gentle with yourself, keep well and strong and forgive… and when it comes relish in the joy of the smile you find you are wearing one day.

 

 

 

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I don’t know – yet

Are you ready for the spotlight? Are you ready to stand centre stage and reveal to everyone all you are, what you are going to do with the rest of your life and bare your soul to the world? I don’t know – yet!

I know I am arming myself with all I need to – I don’t know what exactly, I am just going with my gut. I am educating myself, learning my craft, becoming a master at all I do. The when it will be used, the how exactly, the what, in detail, are a bit of a mystery but the who, I have nailed down and the why is definite clarity. So some I have, some I am still working on but surely that is life?

Are we ever ready for what is to come? Do we ever have all our ducks in a row? Is there a point where everything is perfect? If we wait for perfection isn’t that as dangerous as not being prepared at all? Sometimes you have to be as ready as you can be, and simply be prepared for things to come and change your path – it certainly makes the journey far more interesting.

I know I am meant to teach – I have been having an internal battle with myself for years on this because no I do not want to stand in school and vomit my knowledge to children who would rather be elsewhere. I am discovering to teach is far more than a classroom. I am discovering that it is leading, guiding, healing and giving others the tools to be who they are meant to be. It is giving another soul the gift they need to make their way in life – whatever that may be for them. Teaching is lifting the chin of the person with their head bowed and showing them what it is like to look up instead of down. Teaching is giving others the courage to live their dreams by living yours.

What springs to my mind as I write these words is”what exactly are you waiting for…. you know you are ready, now you just need to be brave.” You will know when you have enough tools in the box to begin. The hard bit is what comes next… but you have this. Just step forward, trust and let that spotlight shine so the world can see you for all that you are – a human being in your own right and you area ready to be seen, you are ready to be heard, you are ready to act and you are ready to take responsibility for those actions. What are you waiting for?

I have stood in the shadows on this stage too long…. it is my time and I am ready to fulfill my destiny. How will it roll out? How will it end? I don’t know – yet!

 

Suicide. The Ultimate Painkiller

” Through early morning fog I see. Visions of the things to be. The pains that are withheld for me. I realize and I can see. That suicide is painless. It brings on many changes. And I can take or leave it if I please. The game of life is hard to play. I’m gonna lose it anyway. The losing card I’ll someday lay. So this is all I have to say. The sword of time will pierce our skins. It doesn’t hurt when it begins. But as it works its way on in. The pain grows stronger. Watch it grin. Suicide is painless….”

A wife and a mother driving down a country lane. Happy, a good job, everyone’s sunshine. She looks at the road ahead, sees the stone walls to the side of her and debates with herself… “if I just put my put down and steer that way it will all be over.”

She may be a wife and a mother, have a good job and appear to everyone to be happy and always smiling, but underneath she is in great pain, has lost her identity, feels mental torture from dawn to dusk and sees no other way to stop the noise and the hurt. And no she doesn’t want to die, and no she isn’t thinking of the consequences or people who will be left behind wondering, and no she doesn’t see this as suicide; this is just the ultimate painkiller to take away her pain.

This happened some years ago now but only this week did an incident bring the memory coming back to the fore of her mind. How, once upon a time, did she find herself in this situation and why did she never see this as a suicidal thought? Why until now did it just seem ‘normal’?

Why? Because when you are in that frame of mind this is not necessarily a thought out process – it is for some, and they meticulously plan, prepare, write farewell letters and out their affairs in order – but, for many this is just a painkiller – the ultimate painkiller. They will take whatever opportunity is open to them and not think of anything but the silence they will experience when it’s done. Bliss at last but too late to turn back.

We are living in a world (thank goodness) where mental health is finally open for discussion. Mental health, suicide, depression, bi polar, PTSD, schizophrenia and so on are words we all know – we may not understand them all yet or have the power to recognise in others or know how to deal with them if diagnosed in ourselves or our loved ones, but we are finally talking about every single one of them. Those who are suffering are now more aware, can openly stand up and be the person on the outside they know they are on the inside. They can do this, in most cases, without shame, without being shunned or locked away and with avenues open to them to heal. For others they hide it well as they may be shunned, labelled, ostracized or locked away and for them we must talk more, educate all of our society and let them know they are safe.

Was suicide ever a thought process? Was she aware she was suffering with depression? Did she think this was just normal and how everyone felt? How could she possibly tell someone she wanted to just drive into a wall at speed for the noise in her head to stop? How could she ask for help when she didn’t know the cause or where to begin? Why didn’t she see it through? Who knows. That is a thought and a memory that didn’t come back. I am just thankful she took her foot off the gas and lived to see another day.

She was hurting. She was in fear or her own thoughts. She was desperate for silence inside her mind. She could no longer cry, there was nothing left inside. She was brave. She was determined. She knew there was something more to come. She had faith. She believed there was something better if she just looked.

She grew. She blossomed. She smiled. She experienced good. She made choices. She never gave in. She survived….. I survived. I never took that painkiller and I live life every single day and I am happy.

Suicide is painless….? Be observant. Recognise. Act…

 

 

 

Metamorphosis

I have a tendency to live in a world that is beautiful, kind and innocent – why? Because it is nicer than reality BUT this makes me very naive at times and when faced with the ugly truth of others lives and how they have to get through their day, it makes me realise I need to change.

I do not need to live their lives to understand how they see the world, I do not need to even walk in their shoes. I do need to open my eyes, listen to them, hear their words, hear their pain, hear their reality that is life outside of my small cocoon and play my part in making that just a little more palatable for them.

Metamorphosis “a change of the form or nature of a thing or person into a completely different one”. That is a big ask of anyone and may be impossible or even unnecessary, but to grow we must change. To improve our understanding of others and our world we need to be able to flex and bend and alter how we see and hear things, how we process them and ultimately what we do to play our part in our and its growth.

Change on the other hand really, really hurts. It is hard. It is painful. It is rarely fun. It makes us uncomfortable and we rarely have control over the outcome. What if it’s worse than where we are? What if we don’t fit into this new place? What if people don’t accept us? What if we let go and realise we were already where we should be and now we can’t go back? What if, what if, what if…… what if we always convince ourselves that change is bad, we never do it and then we miss out on a more enjoyable, beautiful, fun, loving place in time and space. What if by changing we actually become more, become better, become nicer humans, become a catalyst for change for someone else, an inspiration, a light that someone else is guided by….

What if we lose the greatest love of all time in the hope for something we cannot see, hear or touch but we believe in. What if we lose ourselves in the process and end up in a dark place where we see no light. What if we become isolated and alone…. What if ,out of giving up love, it comes back ten-fold; what if we lose ourselves but realise the one found it a better fit; what if by being alone we look inside and find our peace, away from the noise and expectations of life. What if is a game we can play until it is too late and the opportunity is gone forever and life no longer is…

To change you must let go. To change you must experience what makes you uncomfortable. To change is to take opportunities and play them out and trust that what you are doing will work. To change is to live and to live is to be happy and to be happy is all we ever really ask of life….

 

 

I’m Going Home

“There’s no place like home, there’s no place like home”.

There are times in your life where the voice inside you repeats, like a chant, day in, day out and at some point you have to listen. I’m overwhelmed by noise. I’m exhausted with the negativity. I’m sad watching people hurt people.  I’m tired of abuse, waste, he said/she said, who is better than who and I am needing silence.

Maybe because I have had depression; maybe because of it or maybe from it, I no longer deal well with noise or busyness or numbers of people all invading my space, physically or mentally, all at once or for excessive periods of time. I take their energy and find it difficult to process. When you work with energy you learn very quickly to protect yourself but there is still an element where it simply gets too much and the overwhelm can be oppressive.

Recognising this place is a huge milestone reached; being able to deal with it is a lifesaver; quickly, effectively and happily getting to a better space is a miracle. I love miracles!

Just as an aside I am sat at my desk and a small spider has come to join me, immediately in my eye-line as I type. He is very small, about 1cm, looks quite a robust little character and appears to be creating a little home for himself for the morning. 

Sorry – back to the blog….

I have long had a calling to head to India. For me this is the home of spirituality and all that is. India for me, is a place of magic, mystery and beauty and creates in me a stillness like no other. I have never yet managed a trip there but for about 5 years now it has whispered in my dreams, it has sung to me its love song and now it is knocking on my heart and saying “come, find the stillness for yourself”. I am heading to India.

What do I hope this brings? Experiences. Opportunities. Culture. Belief. Faith. Friendship. Peace. Courage. In amongst the noise, the colour, the abundance of people and the heat, I hope to find home. Home, inside, no one else can see, feel, touch or experience. Home, inside me, is my space, my experience, the one and only thing I will never have to share, give away, talk about, or defile. My home where the insides are golden, sumptuous, silent, full of sunshine, warm, beautiful and full of love.

It’s time for me to go home…. where do you live or where is home for you I wonder….

 

 

 

Who’s Giving Who

I’m tired. I’m lacking in energy. I’ve done too much.

I hear this all the time when speaking to my clients but when I spoke to a very good friend of mine yesterday and heard myself say the same thing, I was a little taken aback as that is not normal for me. She came back with a wonderful statement “where are you giving from? Are you giving from yourself or giving yourself – a big difference”.  Oooh boy did this make me stop and think.

My work means I give my time, my heart and my energy – it’s how I create space for you to step into and feel safe to breathe and release – but what am I giving away? Am I giving the wrong thing? Am I giving too much and leaving myself with nothing? Am I giving me instead of what is inside me? What exactly am I left with when you are gone?

 

Just take a second to ask yourself the same thing – firstly how many times did you say last week “I’m tired”…. that may have been physically tired, emotionally tired, spiritually tired, mentally tired, energetically tired or just plain tired of others in your life who drain you. You have control… You can say when enough is enough. You can replenish. You have the choice and ability to step back and say “no I’m sorry I can’t do that”. You have the courage inside to move away from those who feed from you like leeches. You are in control…

“I haven’t even the energy to begin….” yes I heard you, but I ask how much longer can you carry on before your body gives up, your mental health is damaged, your emotions overflow and you lose control. If you haven’t the energy to begin, now is exactly the time to take back control and decide whether you give from you or give you. The only person who deserves you right now, is YOU! Without that gift to yourself you have nothing to give anyone else – that could be work, your family, your friends or your community.

If you are an avid list maker, then make a list of all you need to do and decide which are the only ones you can do today. Write down who in your life is draining you and then really think how you manage things differently with them so you share energy, not give it. Listen to your thoughts and the words that leave your lips. Have you just committed time that you don’t have? Where are you stealing it from to give it to them? Who just lost out? Listen to your child – did you hear them asking for help or did you tell them off for whining?  Stop and hug them – childhood lasts for such a short time. Imagine what life will feel like when you wake refreshed. Do you need to attend that meeting – is it value adding to your day? Are you saying yes because you want to or because it looks better or are you obliged to say yes because they have a hold over you?   See the world about you and say thank you for all you have. Look at the most important person in your life and love them – yes look in the mirror!

Do this right and you will soon have enough and be enough and then you can start to think how you give, love, laugh, but from you, and not you as a whole – then you begin… to live!

 

Sat Waiting… for what?

I don’t have a great deal of patience and to be kept waiting is like torture to me. I can feel the anxiety rising, my breath getting fast but shallower, my mind going into negativity and ‘what if’ mode and I begin pacing.

This happens when I have to wait for people, wait for the clock to click round to go somewhere, when I wait for the checkout to clear at the supermarket or when I get stuck in a hold queue on the phone. Today I have to wait for my car to be serviced…

90 minutes of waiting. 90 minutes where I am stranded at the showroom. 90 minutes when I’m not doing something I feel is more important. 90 minutes of hell. So what do I do and how do I cope?

Today I accept the 90 minutes for what they are – 90 minutes to spend on me. 90 minutes to sit on their relatively comfy sofa, enjoy the music on Magic FM and people watch. Bliss. After a little mooch around the cars in the showroom I parked myself and breathed…

There’s the man beavering away cleaning the showroom cars – I hope he’s going to do mine as it’s in a dreadful state. The receptionist with the beautifully manicured, sparkly nails, greeting everyone warmly and making them feel like they are the most important person she’s greeted today. The sales team, some discussing cars, one dancing to the music not realising he’s being observed and the studious young man at the computer with his beautiful pristine white shirt and colourful tie. I love watching people

Magazines on the coffee table, encouraging me to pick them up and flick through their colourful pages full of celebs and royal wedding excitement. Not for me but thank you. Free coffee by the bucket load if I am thirsty and the warm comfort of a faux leather sofa. Sit back and enjoy.

Shall I clear my emails, get some social media planned in and make some calls? Not today. I have chosen these to be my personal 90 minutes and I really won’t waste them, they are precious. I can work when I am home, there is time left in my day. Now is time to sit, relax, enjoy the quiet calm of a car showroom and breathe.

If I could give you 90 minutes today I wonder what you’d do with them?

I Can’t Fix You

18 months ago I wanted to fix the world. I wanted to take all those broken people and put them back together. I wanted to stop them all hurting. I wanted to make them feel better about the world and about themselves. I was naive and stupid. I was frustrated when I didn’t see results or those I was supporting just didn’t seem to want to do the work needed, especially when they said they wanted better, more, different. Then it dawned on me…. I cannot fix anyone, but me.

Nowadays I take a totally different approach to what I am born to do – I simply walk alongside, hold the hand of and create space for, those who are ready to fix themselves.

When people come to me, find me, appear on my doorstep (virtual or otherwise) they come because they are ready for change. That may be a change in their lives, a change in their outlook or a change within themselves. When people come to me they don’t have to tell me – we just connect and begin. When people come to me I know, even when they aren’t certain, that we will grow, step out and step forward and we will achieve. When people come to me we create magic in their lives and we enjoy all the excitement and joy this brings.

The day came when I realised that if people want to change they will and that is where I can support them but I cannot fix them. The only role I have is to support, encourage, inspire, protect, wipe away the tears or balance out the frustrations. I cannot take away their pain for them. I cannot promise everything will be fine. I cannot undo all that they have experienced. I cannot give false hope or promises. I can show them, through touch, through listening, through encouragement and through teaching them to breathe and create time, that they can heal, grow, be, feel a better human and be happy.

Once upon a time I wanted to heal the world and fix the broken wings of those who I felt should fly, but soon I realised that it wasn’t about what I wanted, it was what people wanted to do for themselves. It was about how they wanted to make a difference, to them, to their families, to their world. It was all about them. My only job is to create the space for them to explore, let go, discover, and so that is what I do. It makes it difficult when people ask me what I do….. a massage therapist? Yes. A listener? Well yes. A healer? Yes. A facilitator of change? Yes.

But what do I really do? I create space for you to take a breath and begin….

 

 

Acceptance – the key to life?

So many times I have looked in the mirror or at the shadow on the ground and have been appalled at what I saw. This wasn’t me. This was suddenly some middle aged woman who looked sad and angry with the world and that body…. when did that get that shape – where was the bright, happy, beautiful, giggling, young woman? Where did those 30 years go?

So many times…. but no more. Acceptance was the key. When someone stands before you and all they see is that person you felt you were, just a little older, a little wiser, and just as beautiful, they give you permission to love yourself again. You shouldn’t need another to point it out or give permission but sometimes it is all you have – someone else being the mirror you no longer look in.

What comes with acceptance? A fire in your soul that reignites. Laughter, with others and at yourself when needed. Wisdom to know what matters and what doesn’t. Passion for all you can be and the ability to lose the tight grip on what you no longer are. With acceptance you fall back in love with yourself and all you can be today. Yesterday no longer has the same level of importance and tomorrow will be whatever you decide it will be.

“Wise men say only fools rush in but I can’t help falling in love with you. Shall I stay? Would it be a sin if I can’t help falling in love with you? Like a river flows surely to the sea. Darling so it goes. Some things are meant to be. Take my hand, take my whole life too. For I can’t help falling in love with you.”

Acceptance doesn’t make you blind to your faults and flaws, it simply allows you to accept that you have them and move on. No one is perfect – not the models in the magazines, the celebrities living the life you wish you had or the man or woman down the street who seems to have it all. They all have their faults, their weaknesses, their anxieties, their pain and they too need reassurance, confidence boosters and the need for acceptance from those around them. They are people on their own journey and yet you look to them and wonder why you can’t look, be or live like they do…

People on their own journey – just the same as you – this life, this journey, this huge fast moving learning curve that sometimes you wish you could slow down or even put on pause, this is your opportunity to love who you are, who you have become and you have the choice of what happens next. The future, your future, is written only by you and the choices you make. How marvelously exciting to hold that pen and begin to write your own story. To be able to pick up the pen and open the book at a clean page is the ability to know who you are today, accept yourself for what you are, today, and then begin to write….

What’s your first line going to be? Tell me… I really would love to hear your story…

Today We Tango

The tango has been called “a dance of sorrow”, it represents frustrated love and human fatality or frailty. It is a usually between a man and a woman, a dance of passion, romance, possession – a game, a conversation, an expression of emotion and inner feeling. It is a beautiful, fascinating, non verbal discussion of power, sensuality, love, healing, relationships, courage, personal growth and an exchange of power and the alternating lead in a relationship between two people. It is life.

For me the dance is not sorrowful but all that is beautiful in an exchange of emotion between two people. These people for me do not need any relationship, as this is a conversation and one will take the lead until the other is ready to take some control and respond to the light touch, the space, the encouragement to step into the conversation and release what they hold inside.

Today we tango…. let the music begin – just listen….

Your head is so busy, so full, so noisy. Your thoughts are scattered and making little sense. Your focus flits from this place and that and back again – never settling, never making sense of what is before it. Your body is tight, agitated, unable to relax into the day and your non verbal image is harsh, angry and frustrated and you cannot engage with the world in a way you feel you would like to or need to. You are so used to this it has become your ‘normal’.

Take my hand and let me lead…. don’t worry about the steps, feel the music….

Step outside of yourself for a minute and look at a version of you from before this time. Keep going back until you find the you who is relaxed, laughing and focused on what is important to you rather than what you feel you should have to focus on. Are you with family or friends or maybe you are just taking time on your own. Are you at home, on holiday, at work? What activity? Who with? What is your body language saying? How old are you? What is the expression on your face?

You dance well… no one is watching so relax into it…

Talk to me. No need for words yet. Just move, relax into it and allow your body to talk. I have your hand and will take the lead if you stumble. Feel that breath? Let it go all the way through you -from your very core to your finger tips and toes. Feel your posture. Let go of that curled over, tight tense body and allow yourself to stretch, grow, feel taller, wider and your limbs to feel loose and free. Are you gritting your teeth and holding your jaw tightly? Relax, smile, feel those cheek muscles lift you. Move across the floor. Glide. Skim over water. Don’t worry about what you look like to others – it’s just you and me and I won’t judge. You’re doing it….. you’re talking to me.

Now lift your chin and look at me. It’s safe. It’s okay. Talk to me. With your eyes and your cheeks and your mouth and with every line and wrinkle and expression of emotion. It’s okay if a tear falls. You are safe. Let that music move through you and release what you hold onto inside. Breathe.

The music is coming to an end but you have begun and in time this will be easier and your body will instinctively move when you play the right music…. practice is all it takes.