It’s just a diary or is it? – Lessons from the ultimate search

Which diary do I choseMy husband had been out of work for 3 months so naturally we have been tightening our belts, but one new thing I needed was a new diary for 2016. Yes, I know I have a smart phone but for an old Luddite like me there something comforting and helpful about writing your commitments down and seeing a week on one page – on paper not a screen!

So I was very excited about the prospect of buying a diary. To me it was a treat something for me, something I could indulge in. Therefore I had lots of thoughts and expectations of what I wanted. It had to be A6 to fit in my handbag and pocket, but still have enough room for what I anticipated to be my increasingly busy and inspiring life. It had to be colourful and inspirational and it had to be an expression of me. You can see where this is going can’t you… Continue reading

Why I say ‘Bah Humbug’ to reflecting on last year and making resolutions for 2016

2015 is history 2015 is a mysteryThere are lots of posts in my head still to be written from 2015 but I’ll start with a new year’s post because it seems appropriate (and then if I delve into past reflections for future posts I’m sure you’ll forgive me).

So as the end of the year was approaching my husband suggested I reflect on the past year as he often finds this a constructive and helpful exercise. As I happened to be drifting in and out of a bad mood/negative state of mind, for me this was not a good idea and even though I sensed this couldn’t help myself. – I was drawn to reflect as he suggested and it did indeed prove to be a really bad idea!

You see we can view our lives in any colour of the rainbow depending on where our mood is. If we are feeling content we can see the past as rosy, if we are feeling sad we can see at as grey and we have feeling downright unhappy we can see it as very bleak indeed. Since our feelings come from our thinking if we dwell on something negative we are going to experience a negative feeling about it, and this what happened to me. Continue reading

Moods – Lessons From A Tired 4 Year Old Not Wanting To Go Home

dark clouds raining down on my 4 year oldSo I’ve just started a contract working 2 days a week and then 1 day a week I work for myself. This means that my eldest who is 4 and half has to join his brother at the childminders after school at least 2 days a week until 5.30pm or 6pm.

So last week I went to pick them up and I noticed he was a little upset about a Halloween bag my childminder had kindly got them both for a present. He didn’t want his and he was very upset when I insisted on taking his brother’s one home because he didn’t want him to have one either!

The bags had pictures of bats and spiders on, and I sensed this may be scaring him. As we were walking to the bus in the dark and the rain he got upset and told me he didn’t want the bag at home and I should throw it into a bush. I said no and told him that the bags just had pictures of bats and spiders on just like the pictures he drew of bats at home. He said no they were real and the rats he saw were real and everything was real, real, real!!!

We proceeded to have a ‘profoundish’ conversation about this for 5 minutes before we got into ‘I don’t want to go home, I just want to stand out in the rain!’ which he kept repeating and repeating and repeating! He looked so sad and tired all I felt was love and compassion for him so I kept reassuring him and saying ‘I know, I understand’ and then encouraging him to walk on. I then explained how it wasn’t good to stand out in the rain as we may get cold or worse and our feet would hurt, but he went on and on and on! Continue reading

Inspiration Can Come From Anywhere If You Let It

butterfly pictureOver the summer my 4 year old suddenly started drawing beautiful pictures of butterflies. When I looked at them they were a source of wander to me, because although over time he has been gradually drawing people – first the face then the body, now adding legs, arms, hands and feet, he had never drawn like that before. To me it came out of nowhere and I got a very special feeling from looking at it, and not just one of love that came from being a parent.

On reflection what I see that inspired me was to me this picture appeared to come out of nowhere. That over the years he has been taking things in and building knowledge and wisdom and this came out on the page. I find this inspiring because as an adult we do things here and there never knowing where they lead. We learn and take in things from our surroundings and our lives we are not even aware of. Yet somehow we believe we know what we are capable of and put limits on ourselves based on what we think we can and can’t do when really we have no idea.

If you have enjoyed this and want to know more, feel free to get in touch and I’m happy to offer you a half hour introductory Skype call at no cost. If you want to meet in person join our growing band of overthinkers at Overthinkers Anonymous. We will meeting up on Wednesday 16 September in Queens Park where we will be discussing ‘If it’s really true that there is too much to do and too little time to do it’ , it would be lovely to see you there.

Also if you or anyone you know have recently had a baby and want a chance to let off steam and get support from other mums as well as learn something that will help them deal with life with a baby then join me for our next NapChat on Thursday 17 September. To find out more click here.

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.

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

“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.

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