Reflections on lockdown

In the last week of August we went camping in South Devon. It was a bit late in the summer but due to work commitments. it was the only time we could go. We were all looking forward to getting out of London and having a holiday and my husband and I hoped we’d have time sit back and relax and have time to reflect and enjoy drinks outside our tent each night once the kids had gone to bed.

It turned out it wasn’t going to be that kind of holiday!

On day one my mobile phone took a dip in the sea thanks to me chasing a Sainsburys bag into it, and our ipod with all our relaxing tracks also went with it. I cried bucket loads not for the concerns I had about if I was still in contract or had to buy a new phone. It was more of a release of all the emotions and anger and upset of the last 6 months with both our precarious job situations and home schooling, lockdown etc that came pouring out. It was cathartic.

My jeans and the rest of my clothes got soaked so I had to wear my sarong a vest and my rain jacket the rest of the day. Even when we went to Dartmouth quite a smart and beautiful seaside town! (Tee hee). I went into shops to see if I could get any trousers to wear that would dry quicker than jeans and was told I wasn’t able to try anything on. Being in between sizes this isn’t something that ever works for me especially with trousers so I was left to wonder the streets in my sarong and rain jacket. Another gift of Covid!

What can I say about the weather – it was changeable! We got the full English! –We had to take clothes for all weathers every day. We had heard there may be storm but having survived one in our tent before we thought we’d be OK. On Tuesday morning we woke up to windy weather. I went to the loo at 6.50am and thought it wasn’t too bad. At that moment, a gust of wind hit our tent full on and ripped our porch. It then started collapsing and I had to scream for my husband to get out of bed! – Luckily, some kind teachers came to help save the day and we quickly got the kids in our car while we salvaged our stuff and took down the remains of the porch and manage to salvage our tent. Later another pole broke but we managed to use the other spare one from our porch and the farmer who owned the field kindly leant us his trailer for the rest of the holiday so we could store our food and kitchen equipment in it.

We took the kids to an otter sanctuary in the pissing rain, sheltering on an empty train platform to have our lunch. Then thought we’d drive round Dartmoor National Park. As we were driving through the skies suddenly cleared. We missed an official viewing spot so my husband took a small road and we parked up and started to walk up towards a Tor (rocky outcrop).  When we got there, we saw probably one of the most beautiful views I’d ever seen. It was 360 degrees in all directions and beautiful and varying countryside in every direction you looked.

I have many happy memories of the holiday playing ‘dessert charades’ with the kids, my son teaching us the Charleston, eating the best scones I’ve ever had in the pissing rain and wind! Watching my husband and the kids body board in the pissing rain while I took shelter under some rocks!

Yes, there were times when my husband and I bickered and got angry at ourselves and each other and our kids managed to get us to stop. Yes, we had our less good moments and there was even one time when I even hankered after my lost youth and figure after seeing a load of 20 somethings on the beach. But none of these lasted long.

We didn’t get the time to chill out and relax like you might do on a beach holiday. We didn’t even get much of a chance to speak at night – we were too exhausted!  What we got and what saw was that whole holiday was like a metaphor for the last 6 months and what we had learnt during that time.  When we went with the flow of life and dealt with each thing as it came and were open, things occurred to us to do. We could enjoy the moment in all its craziness. When we fought it, we were mainly fighting with ourselves. Yes there was stormy weather but we were able to ride it out and even enjoy it just like we can with our stormy thinking. When it cleared even more beauty and clarity came into view just as it always does.  You see there is always light, beauty and  360 degree views that help us work out what to do moment by moment we just innocently cloud it by getting stuck and caught up with how we want things to be different from how they are now or worrying about the future. I say this as much to me as to you because its something we are constantly forgetting and remembering.

This is a time of year leading up to the Jewish High Holidays that many people see as a time of self reflection and even though I didn’t get the time I thought I would to reflect in the traditional sense  I learnt you don’t always have to stop completely to learn from life lessons you just have to pick up the clues as you go and learn from those.

To those celebrating the Jewish New Year today and everyone else I wish you health, happiness, peace of mind and light, and liteness in these strange and changeable times.

Much love to all.

PS Thanks to my NisaNashim Jewish Muslim sisters who I shared this with and helped me to see this to be able to share it with you.

New Year Reflections On A Fragile Planet

Over Christmas I went to several sessions at Limmud (a Jewish Festival of learning) about the environment.

In one of them we talked about the story of a person who made a hole in a ship. Why did they do it? To dip their feet in the water? To fish? To cool down? Why? And what did the other people do to stop them?

When reflecting on the environment we are all in our own innocent way making holes in the ship we call the planet;- by our over reliance on using plastics, electricity, petrol, convenience products, excessive consumption etc. Sometimes we are not even aware of what we are doing.  Continue reading

And That’s Just The Tip of the Iceberg by Chaya Cohen

I’ve been thinking of icebergs recently.

No, not because the weather is particularly icy.

I have an image in my mind of an iceberg with the tip visible and the huge frozen mountain submerged underwater, totally hidden.

With the help of google images and freeware photo sites, I found some images that fit what I’m picturing.  Here they are:

 

 

 

 

And here is a illustration showing how most of the iceberg is submerged.

If not the weather, what prompted me to think of icebergs?

I’ve been thinking of ourselves.

When asked how they are, people respond differently.  Some give a big smile and a resounding enthusiastic reply.  Some ignore the question.  Some give a detailed answer, even detailed enough to make the casual questioner regret having asked.  Some give a resounding complaint.  Some people address their financial state.  Or their parents’ health.  Or their diet progress.  Or this week’s update of the current serial story going on in their life.

Truthfully, though, all of these options address the top 10% of the iceberg that is visible.  Perhaps, actually, the top 2% would be more accurate. Because we as people are amazing.  Infinitely so.  We have a pure soul.  We have tons of potential.  We do so much in the background, besides what we are also doing.

And we are so much more than our accomplishments.

We ARE.

We are human beings.

How we are feeling and doing is so superficial.

Even when I’m in the middle of a drama, that drama is not ME.  That drama is the top wave in the ocean.  It reflects what I’m feeling, what I’m thinking.  But I am the ocean.  When the wave crashes, the ocean isn’t in turmoil!  The upper layer is!  The ocean is just fine.

 

 

 

 

As are we.  Just fine, just great, with the visible tip of the iceberg doing some wild dances.

Chaya has been learning about innate health with and from me on and off for several years. As she has limited access to the internet she kindly gave  me permission to post it on her behalf so that you can benefit from it too. She now teaches innate health in her own right while raising a family in Israel. If you would like to hear more from her get in contact and I’ll pass your details on to her.

What we can all learn from School for Stammerers

I watched a documentary called ‘School for Stammerers’  #stammerschool on TV last night and balled my eyes out throughout the whole thing. What caused me to have such an emotional reaction? I didn’t know anyone in the documentary and I don’t know anyone affected by a stammer?
When I reflected on it, it struck me that yes, the people in it were helped by learning how to use their diaphragm in a different way, but over 80% of what was causing their stammer was their thinking about it.
So throughout the programme they were coached on seeing that it was their thinking about their stammering that was causing the stammer to get worse not just the stammer itself.
Once they could see beyond their self-limiting beliefs they were able to say their name confidently (a real triumph), speak in front of a crowd of strangers and loved ones for the first time (way beyond what they could have imagined). Many of them had spent the majority of their lives doing anything and everything in their power to avoid speaking in public. For example using friends or family to speak for them or finding ways to hide themselves away so they didn’t need to speak at all (eg a 54 year old man became a long distance lorry driver). Some of them had built their whole lives on this! How much thinking and energy they spent to avoid dealing with the thinking about their stammer? How many strategies had they created to avoid situations where they had to speak? -And yet within 4 days they were able to go beyond their thinking and be who they truly were in the world.
To me there is a universal message in this for all of us. Yes these people had a stammer but how many thoughts, assumptions and beliefs do we all have knowingly and unknowingly, that hold us back? How much potential would there be in all of us if we were able to see that we innocently made this all up to protect ourselves and that it wasn’t true? Just like the people in the documentary saw that what they thought people/the public thought of them with their stammer wasn’t true, so their thinking about themselves wasn’t true.
That to me was the lesson of the documentary and why it moved me to tears. Because in those tears was the hope for you and me alike to go beyond our thinking and be who we are.

Continue reading

It’s funny how life can look totally different from one moment to the next

I’m constantly amazed how life can look totally different from one day to the next.

A few days ago I was fearful for our future and at times even felt like leaving my husband. I wanted someone to wave a magic wand to make everything better and magic us to a time when we could live a life earning enough to spend what we wanted, yet still both doing what we loved and spending lots of time with our kids. Continue reading

What is a drama workshop anyway? – How we all see what we want to see

drama-workshopSo about a week or so ago it was a bit of a rainy Sunday so I decided to take the 5 and half year old to a drama workshop as I thought he may enjoy it. When I read the description I thought there would be some kind of making of sets involved and my son loves making so I thought it would be perfect for him. I obviously read the description wrong because it wasn’t what I thought it was going to be. It turned out I wasn’t the only one because I happened to bump into two sets of friends at the workshop both of whom read it differently as well and expected it to be some kind of performance or something.

It turned out it was an interactive drama workshop where the parents and children had to take part! Needless to say I wasn’t that into it and neither were my friends and I can’t honestly say I did that well at playing along with it and fully participating myself. My son also wasn’t that keen and decided to opt out of some of it. I had also assumed it was going to be an hour and half but it turned out only to be 45 minutes, probably a good thing considering. Continue reading

There Are Small Miracles Around If We Are Open To Seeing Them

miracle-jpegThe other day I got to train station and realised I didn’t have my Oyster card. I thought that’s funny I had it this morning, maybe I dropped it somewhere.  I phoned my colleague at work to see if I had left it there but couldn’t get through so it occurred to me that I could use my debit card for my train journey so that’s what I did.

I then thought about buying a new card because I wasn’t keen on using my debit card on the bus with the kids due to having tonnes of stuff with us and the mere chaos of getting on and off the bus with them, the buggy and two scooters! Yes we don’t travel light! But my feeling was to wait until the next day to see if I could find my oyster card. So I negotiated getting my debit card out of my wallet on the two chaotic bus journeys and then the calmer more sedate journey to work the next morning.

When I got close to work it was 5 minutes before I was due in and it occurred to me that I could go to the park I had been at lunchtime the day before and see if my oyster card was there. Normally I would have dismissed this thought because it would make me a little late for work but I let my feeling guide me. Sure enough wonder of wonder, miracles of miracles I got to where I was sitting opposite some teenagers the day before and my oyster card was lying on grass nearby.  I was ecstatic and beaming from ear to ear.  It wasn’t that I had found my oyster card it was because I was present to the shear miracle of what had happened.

When I reflected on this I recognised the power of following your wisdom. In that instance I had allowed myself to be quiet enough to hear my wisdom and not fight it with my logic which in the past would have always won over because its voice was much louder and more forceful, to the degree that I was never present to the wisdom inside of me.

May your wisdom guide you and may you see the miracles in daily life that are always available to us if we are open enough to seeing them.

If anything I’ve written resonates with you and you are curious to find out more, please get in touch I’d love to hear from you.

I Struggle and Juggle – The Truth About Being a Mum of Young Kids Today

mum juggling bals of work, husband, kids and freindsI am a mum of 2 gorgeous young boys, wife to a lovely husband (well most of the time), part-time marketing professional and Innate Health Teacher and I juggle and I struggle. I love my boys and my jobs and my husband and I struggle.

I struggle on days when I am trying to get the kids out the house and my eldest son doesn’t want to go to school and I have to perform every parent gymnastics trick in the book to get him there until suddenly he has a change of heart and is happy to go. Then I enjoy the moment of his returned good mood and I wonder at it.

I struggle on days when I have to do a last minute nappy change before we leave and the bus won’t let me on because there are already two buggies on board.

I struggle  on days when it all runs smoothly but I’m in my head about being on time and getting them there and I feel like I’ve done 5 rounds with Mike Tyson by the time I’ve got to work, when in fact I’ve just done 5 rounds with myself.

I love my kids and I struggle. There’s a facebook group for mums called ‘mums that hide in the loo.’ Well I’m a mum who howls in the kitchen. Just to let off steam and occasionally have a sneaky bit of chocolate to keep me going – you understand. Sometimes I even have some that’s left over from the boys party bags (well better my teeth than theirs!).

And I howl to myself and I struggle and I love my children and I treasure the moments we have together because I know it’s precious.

I struggle when I look at Facebook and I start to compare myself to what others are doing. Then I remember that just like me people are only ever posting what they want others to see and that brings me back to the present and I’m OK again.

I juggle and I struggle and sometimes when I’m juggling I don’t pay enough attention to something and I drop a ball, mess up and innocently hurt people. I take responsibility for what I’ve done and I apologise. But I don’t drive myself crazy with guilt like I used to because I know I would be causing myself pain and why would I want to do that to myself anymore?!?

I struggle and I learn. I learn from my gorgeous young boys who for the majority of the time live in the here and now and not in their heads. They are upset about something and they express this clearly and then they are not, they’re onto the next thing.

And I see that I like everyone else on this planet am only ever living in the experience of my thinking. That I’m doing the best I can given what I know to do in the moment. I know that my kids will do what they do and if I’m in a bad mood I’ll see it in a bad way and if I’m in a good mood I’ll think it’s funny and this frees me up. – Because I know that my experience of my kids comes from me and not from them.

And I notice that when I’m seeing life as it is and not as it isn’t. – When I’m present to what is happening now and not lost in my head I savour all life has to offer and I love my kids and life even more. And I notice when I’m lost in my thoughts of how life should be, what’s happening, not happening, if we are late or not, have I left something behind, are my kids OK? Am I OK? Did I get enough sleep? Did my husband get enough sleep? Did I do/say the right thing/the wrong thing?  Where’s my phone? Etc etc ad infinitum I’m distracted and I miss out on the beauty and the wonder of life.

Sometimes when I feel like I’m struggling I can see the habits of thought I’ve created. – For example  when I’m judging myself for something I’ve done or said and then feel bad as a result.  I say to myself here I go again… and I can be OK with myself for doing it, give into it and accept it and it passes quickly. Sometimes I can’t and then I struggle. But now the more I see these habits and I notice the thoughts that I trip myself up on, the less likely I am to believe them the next time they pop into my head.

You see we all have 100,000’s of thoughts a day many of which we don’t notice, and the ones we do and pay attention to give us our experience of life.

Life is precious. Time with my kids is precious and the more I’m truly with them, not distracted by my thinking, the more I enjoy them, appreciate them and love them for the wonder that they are. -How they know what to do to get on in the world without being taught. How they learn to walk and talk and become little people, from their infinite wisdom. The infinite wisdom we all possess that as adults sometimes gets clouded over by the habits and constructs of how to do life that we have unknowingly built up over time.   Well those habits and constructs are just that ‘constructs’. If we can notice that we have built them up then we can knock them down again just as easily. – That to me is one of the keys to living life with less and less struggle.

So I may have the same worrisome thoughts I’ve always had but I don’t experience the same physical sensations; the palpitations, the lack of sleep, the sudden stomach cramps, because I see them for what they are – just thoughts and I don’t trust them so much. As a result I don’t get so entangled in their web that would tighten around me the more I got interested in them and that would lead to my physical discomfort. This is in itself is a blessing.

So I have admitted here that I struggled and I still do but for far less time and with less impact than I have ever done at any point in my life since I was a child. Because now I see my ‘struggle’ for what it is, my own creation and that beyond the so-called ‘struggle’ there is always a light guiding me back to the beauty of the here and now.

If anything I’ve written resonates with you and you fancy joining us and a community of like minded familes in the beautiful Lake District  to reconnect to what’s really important in life  then join us at the 3 Principles Family Gathering. Find out more here.

That Insecure Feeling – Reflections from a sunny day with stormy thinking

FearIt’s funny I was having a lovely day enjoying the sunshine with my toddler and all of a sudden I started to feel a bit angsty and a bit insecure. Then I started to question myself about things I’d said and not said, done and not done which led me to more insecure feelings. Sometimes I can experience these feelings and then blame them on feeling tired and somehow that takes the edge off them because I naturally know not to trust them no matter how alluring they seem. Other times these negative thoughts draw me into their web and then whatever happens in the day I seem to use them as ammunition to fuel that thinking and make myself feel worse and worse. Continue reading

When does thinking become overthinking? By Matt Halfin

Too many lightbulb momentsMost of us who overthink know from the reaction of our friends and family that there are certain areas of life we take more seriously than other people, but when does thinking become over-thinking?

For me overthinking is when we inhibit the natural flow of life, tying ourselves (and often others) up in mental knots trying to work out The Answer, trying to anticipate any potential outcome, and basically not being able to see the wood for the trees. We of course do this in all innocence and with the best possible intentions – to make good decisions and minimise the risk of things happening to us that we think we might not like. Continue reading