Lessons From Chicken Pox – Going With The Flow Of Life

Chicken pox!!!!Just over a month ago my eldest son got chicken pox. He was OK and it cleared up with 7 days.

The trouble was the week after he got it me and my husband were due to go to The 3 Principles Conference an annual event organised by Tikun (where I used to work) where the best teachers from around the world come to teach. We had managed to get childcare lined up for both boys for the 3 days and we were really looking forward to it.  As aside from getting to see all the speakers it was a chance for us to see lots of people we knew and catch up on a personal and professional basis.

The conference started on the Sunday and my eldest son was due to go back to school on Monday. As soon as my elder son got the chicken pox all our childcare started to fall through because people were concerned that either he or my baby (who was potentially a carrier of it) would pass it on.

Now people often ask me as a Three Principles teacher ‘if you trust that everything works out as it should.- Does that mean you sit around and let life happen to you?’ The answer to this question lies in how I responded to this situation. – I desperately wanted to go to the conference and resolved to do everything I could to make this happen but I was not attached to the outcome. What I mean by this is that deep down I knew that if it didn’t work out then that was meant to be. So when we found out that the various people who had been lined up to look after the kids couldn’t do it at very short notice, I didn’t panic, feel sorry for myself or get upset – I just set about finding someone who could.

After several phone calls I managed to find someone for the Monday and Tuesday to look after our one year old but not for the Sunday to look after both of them. – So we decided that I would stay home and my husband would go since he could only take Monday off work. I was fine with this and had a really lovely day with the kids. -Venturing to the local park where I met someone who had recently started a business doing baby massage locally. – So a very helpful contact for me as I’m keen to continue to teach mums of babies The 3 Principles in a way that works for them.

I went to the conference on the Monday only to find out at 3pm that the person looking after our baby could no longer look after him on the Tuesday. She recommended her sister so I visited her on the way home to see what she was like. Then I took my baby there the next day and only once I felt comfortable that he was happy, attended the conference.

The conference was a richer experience as a result because I truly appreciated every moment I was there. This experience humbled me as I saw that we are never really in control and that is OK. The pressure for things to work out as we want comes from us and us alone. Therefore the feelings and the drama that get associated with this like disappointment, upset, anger come from us alone also – not the situation.  If we are able to drop this and open to new possibilities who knows what can arise and if they don’t then that’s Ok too.

I will speaking on Wednesday 8 July at 8pm in Queens Park on ‘There is Nothing To Fear But Fear Itself’ . It would be great to see you there. To find out more click here.

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How real is our thinking? Lessons from an almost 4 year old

Thanks  to Lian Brook-Tyler for the opportunity to publish this article on the Born Happy website in April this year.

4 year old thinking

So my eldest is going to be 4 in a few weeks’ time and we’ve recently noticed a change in him…

It started with the night terrors and insisting the light had to be on in the hallway all night 6 months ago and progressed to a fear of shadows and talking about monsters in the night. We have taken an interest in what he is saying and tried to explain that monsters were not real. But for someone for whom where reality starts and imagination ends is not clear this isn’t easy to do. – ie He talks about what happens to Peppa Pig and the Mr Men in the same sentence as he talks about what we did the yesterday.

A few days ago we noticed this blur between imagination and reality took on a different more sinister guise. We were on our way home from a long day at The Princess Diana Memorial Playground and he was very tired to the extent that he was whining because he had to walk. He started saying”‘Ga Ga” this and “Ga Ga” that. His friend decided to take offence to this, so put his fists up close to his face to threaten him. His mum and I put a stop to this straight away but you could see that my little boy was visibly scared. We explained to his friend that ‘Ga Ga’ to my little boy wasn’t just a baby word it was his Grandma’s name. – (She having claimed the first word his said as her name. – Not an uncommon occurrence amongst keen Grandma’s and mother in laws or so I’ve heard. – Tee Hee)

That evening we were having a lovely dinner and my eldest kept telling us about when his friend had looked like he was going to hit him and how scared he was. Each time he told us he looked visibly scared like he was reliving the experience. We said “it’s over now” and “it’s Ok and he didn’t hit you and you are OK” but he kept telling it to us and getting visibly scared by it. Then as we were getting him ready for the bath he kept saying it again and I said “What are you doing now?” and he said “Getting ready for the bath” so I said “So what your friend did isn’t happening now is it?” and he said “No” and he seemed to start to understand so I said “All there is in life is what is happening now. What you are doing in the moment.” And he seemed happier and relieved and didn’t mention it again. I added “The past isn’t real and the future is your imagination so the only thing that is real is what is happening now” I really didn’t think he understood this last bit but was happy to settle for bringing him back to the now to start with. Then the next day he asked me what we did yesterday so I said we had gone to the Princess Diana Memorial Playground. So he said “yes and my friend went to hit me but he didn’t.” and recounted the story again. This time though I could see it didn’t bother him at all. Then he said something like “but that’s not real now.” – So I think he understood more than either my husband or I had imagined he would.

I guess our little boy is changing. He is becoming more conscious of his thinking and therefore more affected by it. It got me thinking about how as adults we also innocently get caught in our thinking and run things that happen over and over in our heads hurting ourselves in the process without even realising it. Sometimes we may even act from that negative thinking and as a result possibly say or do hurtful things to others. As adults some of us are just less obvious about it or maybe not, but it’s all the same.

Life happens: It’s the meaning we give to it that gives us the experience of it and it’s up to us to bring ourselves back to the present to see what really is so. Because the only reality is what is happening now in the moment – and even that comes from our own individual unique viewpoint of it.

I will speaking at Tikun in Temple Fortune next Tuesday 23 June at 8pm  on ‘The Freedom To Be – Good Moods, Bad Moods Warts and All’ with my great friend and teacher Toby Walzer so if you’d like to know more click here.

Contemplating Reality – Lessons From Sick Days Off School

Contemplating Reality - Lesson from sick days off schoolMy 3 year old was off school with a bug last week. It started with him throwing up in the middle of the night so we kept him home a day. Then he was well again so we sent him back to school but they sent him straight back because he had a temperature. That afternoon he was lively as anything. The day after he was very weak and lay on the sofa feeling really poorly. – To the degree that if the slightest thing went wrong – like the milk evaporated into his Weetabix in the wrong way I was in trouble! Meanwhile the baby now 10 months was in classic maniac mode – cruising round our living room like a mountaineer discovering new terrain without a safety harness. – So lots of tears there too!

Even though this lasted only a few days I really got a new appreciation for what Syd Banks could have meant when he said “The brain acts like a computer. Whatever you put into it is all you get out.“* I noticed I would go into the kitchen to ‘do something/take a breather/have a sneaky bit of chocolate’ and I would start to think about being desperate to get out of the house so I would feel claustrophobic.  Then I would be in the living room with the kids and I would start to think about all the work I had to do to get the questionnaire I was creating about ‘the emotional support available to parents of babies’ done and I would start to have feelings of impatience and stress. I would then not buy into these and they would pass naturally and then I’d be back with the children seeing how cute they were and feeling love and compassion again. Continue reading

Why Disturbed Sleep Isn’t The Problem We Think It is

Disturbed Sleep Isnt The Problem We Think It isSo my baby is now 9 months and a few weeks ago we decided to move him to his own room even though he is still not sleeping through. My husband was then able to take his rightful place back in our bedroom.

When we moved my older son downstairs to his own room I cried my eyes out. This time I realised it was time because he had outgrown the crib –literally. -Although the thought of running up and downstairs all night did not fill me with joy (and still doesn’t several weeks later when we are now both being woken up!).

Also I really miss feeding him from the comfort of my bedroom. Not just as a bonding experience with my baby but also because it was a special time for me. You see for me waking in the night has been a guilty pleasure because it gave me time to watch a range of rubbish TV some of which is too embarrassing to share (but let’s just say a well -known posh constructed reality TV series was involved –  (oh the shame!) – as well as spin offs from The Bake Off and The Apprentice – Well I did say rubbish  TV!– Alongside this I also got to watch lots of documentaries and thanks to the generosity of sharing from The 3 Principles community lots of interviews and talks from them as well. Which led me to discover many inspiring new teachers along the way. This really helped me deepen my understanding. – ( So thank you 3 Principles Community*). Continue reading

“There is nothing to Fear but Fear Itself”* – Lessons From A Mouse In The House

mouse in the houseSo we have had a mouse in our house. – Eek!! I have gone through several phases of feelings and thinking about this.

At first when I saw it run across the kitchen floor I was in denial. Then evidence in the form of eaten bread in several locations and droppings –yuk!-  led me to revulsion and the compulsion to sort it out. So we got in the pest control and after finding out there were several potential ‘nesting’ points in my house I went into clearing out mode. – Which was needed –as there was a lot of clutter I had been avoiding sorting out that as a result of the mouse, got sorted.  (So there were some benefits.) Continue reading

Lessons From A Bottle Feeding Mum – How To Have Peace Of Mind When Life Doesn’t Work Out As You’d Expected Or As You’d Like

Getting over our beliefs about bottle feedingBefore I start this article I want to state for the record that I really believe in both natural birth and breastfeeding, they just weren’t meant to be for me. By sharing what I learnt from my experiences I hope that this will help give comfort to women who are struggling after having a baby, whatever challenges they are facing.

My first baby was back to back and was born eventually after a 4 day labour by emergency caesarean. Thanks to getting fit before the birth and having a degree of understanding about Innate Health  I was able to see the labour as a moment by moment experience and not be fearful about it. Therefore I was fine about the birth and had no negative thinking or feelings about it afterwards. It was the shock of trying to breastfeed and not being able to that really affected me.

I was so exhausted from the birth I wasn’t producing enough milk so he got jaundice in hospital and I had to start topping him up with formula. We took him home and I sought out lots of breastfeeding support and started on the road of obsessively pumping through the night to try and produce more milk to satisfy his ever increasing needs. In the meantime we fed him via various methods from cups to finger feeding (with a syringe) a mix of formula and breast milk. In the meantime I became so determined to breastfeed to the extent that this became my focus to the detriment of my relationship with my baby and my husband.

Unfortunately all this thinking and obsessing about breastfeeding really affected my state of mind to the degree that I didn’t speak to my friends or really leave the house for about 5 weeks until after he was born. Eventually I felt I couldn’t try anymore and so gave up. This left me feeling very guilty and upset that I had let my baby down for a long time after, as I felt I had not been able to provide for my baby in a natural way. Eventually after about a year a half of seeing my baby was just as healthy as everyone else’s I made peace with myself about it and realised the baby would be absolutely fine.

I have since spoken to mothers who have breastfed successfully but found it very difficult for various reasons, be it mastitis or whatever complications, who managed to carry on but also felt equally effected by the experience. Someone even told me they had extreme feelings of guilt having breast fed successfully for one year but had to give up because they had to go back to work.

With my second baby I tried again for a natural birth but never went into labour so ended up with another cesarean. Again my baby fed well in hospital but was too hungry and I couldn’t provide what he needed so I had to top up with formula. Again I got breastfeeding support and again I hired a pump and pumped when I could. The difference was that this time I realised that maintaining a healthy state of mind and building the bond with my baby as well as looking after my toddler was more important than obsessing about breastfeeding. I did what I could when I could but to no avail, so I ended up with another bottle fed baby. I made peace with myself very quickly this time because I realised I was only hurting myself with my thinking about feeling guilty and he would be absolutely fine.

The reason I’m writing this is to say that it’s not breastfeeding or bottle feeding that is the problem. It’s what we do to ourselves by taking our thinking and ‘our beliefs’ so seriously and judging ourselves that’s the problem. While I experienced the prejudices of people against bottle feeding I know breastfeeding mothers experience prejudice about their choices as well. We can internalise this and get upset about it or we can just let it wash over us and let it pass, because the more we internalise it and take it seriously the more we are hurting ourselves and no one else.

This experience helped me to see that beliefs are just thinking that we take very seriously. They are not right or wrong. As Grayson Perry says in one of his tapestries ‘Hold your beliefs lightly’. – This is something that thanks to this experience I am learning to do.

When you care passionately about something and life doesn’t work out for you in the way that you’d anticipated, it’s very compelling to beat yourself up for it, which leads to enduring feelings of guilt. By doing this you are only hurting yourself and prolonging the pain. If you can learn to accept that we all do the best we can in any given moment (given what we know at the time) and that none of us are ultimately in control, no matter how much we’d like to be. – Then you can make peace with circumstances you find difficult in your life rather than keeping them alive with your thinking and prolonging your pain.

Get in touch
If what I’ve written resonates with you and you would like some postnatal support via Skype or in person get in touch to find out about one-to-one sessions either by calling me on 07901 514 113 or filling out the form below.

Why People’s Insistence That You Move Onto The Next Life Stage Need Not Bother You

Life CycleMy baby has recently turned 6 months old and for the last month or so, people have started saying ‘Aren’t you going to wean him now?’ This didn’t bother me but it struck me that in the past I have allowed comments like this to really affect me. Why is everyone in such a hurry for people to move onto the next stage in their lives?!? It’s like when you have a partner people say ‘when are you going to get engaged?’ and then when you are engaged they say ‘When are you going to get married?’ Then as soon as you are married they say ‘When are you going to have a baby?’

I remember when we were desperate to have a second child and it just wasn’t happening and I took this very badly and was upset and emotional for months about it. People kept saying things like ‘Shouldn’t you be having another one by now’ and to me this felt like they were stabbing me because I took it very personally. I was lucky enough to be studying on The 3 Principles Professional Institute at the time. I remember my supervisor Dr Aaron Turner pointed out that people were just innocently saying what they were saying. It was me who was creating the experience of what they were saying that was affecting me, not them. It was only when I could see that I was causing pain to myself that I was able to hear these comments and not be affected.

I now see that people innocently ask life cycle questions just as they would ask what the weather is like and it’s up to us how we hear and interpret these comments and how we let them affect us or not.

Being In The Moment – Lessons From An Aware Toddler In Love With The World And Its Wonders

The joy of rainThe other week I woke up in a bad mood and was going to a friend’s house with my baby and toddler. It was cold and wet and grey which reflected my mood. I set out with the buggy and the toddler in tow trying to control his umbrella. As I was walking I began to feel more and more miserable and sorry for myself – it’s so annoying that the weather is so bad and I can’t drive, and it’s always such a schlep to get everywhere etc.  etc . My mind was full of negative thinking and I could feel my mood dropping further.

Then my toddler said ‘Mummy look at the face in the tree’ and I looked up and sure enough there was what looked like a face in the tree we were passing and the next one. Somehow his childish enthusiasm and excitement snapped me out of myself as I felt he had opened my eyes to the simple beauty in nature that I often miss because it has become wallpaper to me. Continue reading

An Insight About Insights From Potty Training

lightbulb moment in potty trainingFor the past few months I’ve been trying to potty train my 3 year old. A friend of mine who has 6 children and a good knowledge of the 3 Principles told me that potty training is just like thinking in the sense that when we are ready to drop thought we just drop it. It’s not something  we can make ourselves do – ie If you’re in a bad mood or have negative thinking about something the more you tell yourself to stop thinking about it the more you think about it! – Just so with potty training. If a child is ready to go to the toilet they are ready and no amount of cajoling bribing and anything else can make them.

I’ve discovered this is very true! The nursery my son went to was encouraging me to potty train him a few months ago when the baby was born and even though we had misgivings about it, we tried but he just didn’t seem to care if weed or poohed wherever he was. Despite trying to encourage him onto the potty with sweets and other incentives he just wasn’t interested. So we put him in pull ups and just took him to the toilet regularly.

Continue reading

Too Much Choice! – Are Too Many Options Bad For Our Health?

mobile phone choices I just had to get a new mobile phone because my old one had stopped working deleting my entire address book from when I first got a mobile phone in its wake! Joy! –Not even putting it in rice as my 3 year old suggested could save it this time!

What struck me about this was the amount of choice and options I had and how much information there was to steer me in different directions. I went into 2 phone shops on 3 days running to look into what I should get and then spent an additional 2 hours on the computer checking my bill history and researching further. As we all know with the internet there is no end to the research you can do and in terms of reviews you can always find someone who has found a fault with something!  – And even though we know that’s the case part of us wants to doubt our choices and use the ‘research’ as evidence. Even when I thought I had chosen the phone and the tariff and was about to make a purchase I was given even more options which led me into another spiral of thinking and doubt. By then I’d had enough of the overthinking and analysis so just went with the phone I had agreed with my husband was a good option the day before. Continue reading