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.

I Get Triggered Too

So l was at work and even though I was really busy something compelled me to look at an incoming email on my phone even though a voice inside me advised me not to. When I did the email was something about a mistake that had happened that could have financial implications for us, but the people who sent promised to try and sort it out for us. Well I got really wound up, angry, worried and distracted to the point when I couldn’t concentrate on my work. Thinking of all the things I should say to the people that in my eyes made the mistake and what the implications would be if they couldn’t sort it out etc. Thank goodness it was close to lunchtime and luckily I had the good sense not to quickly send a rude/concerned/reactive email back.

I went out for a walk to get some air and called my husband who I’d forwarded the email to. He reassured me that they would sort it out and offered to respond to them for me in calm and grateful way, something I was clearly incapable of! I thanked him and put the phone down but I was still really wound up. I bought my lunch and on the way back to the office as I going over and over things in my head I suddenly started laughing. You see at that time I had been co-facilitating a group for people struggling with issues around sex drugs and alcohol and in the groups we talked a lot about what triggers them to do what they do. Then it suddenly struck me, I have a habit of getting anxious and worried about what I term as ‘official financial stuff ‘and if I have to deal with anything related to this then I notice I get really triggered and angsty and take it all very seriously. That’s all that was happening now. Continue reading

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

Because I’m human

Because I’m human I find life easier when I live my life as if I’m putting one foot in front of the other.

Because I’m human I find life easier when I remember that all there is what is happening now, ie me writing this, and that everything else that’s going on in my head is my made up creation.

Because I’m human I find life easier when I trust that everything will work out as it should irrespective of what I do because ultimately I can do my best but I’m not in control anyway.

Because I’m human I forget this…

Because I’m human and I forget this sometimes and I start to get interested in all the thoughts about what needs to be done.

Because I’m human and my thoughts create my feelings, the more I get interested in my thinking about what needs to be done, the more sped up and the more and more overwhelmed I feel.

Because I’m human I start collapsing all the things I need to do and all the different arrangements I need to make so they become bigger and BIGGER in my head and they seem insurmountable.

Because I’m human and I forget I sometime relate to my circumstances like they are me, and I start to think it’s because it’s the school holidays. It’s too much, I can’t juggle my kids, my job my life! I’m not a good mother, wife, colleague, daughter, person etc. etc. etc.!

Because I’m human I start to feel more and more overwhelmed by these feelings until I feel like a volcano about to go off!

Because I’m human when this happens I erupt like a volcano and I cry and I howl and I try and hide in the kitchen

And my children see me and I have to say ‘sorry mummy’s just got herself all worked up now’

And I cry and cry

And I think I’m an ‘Innate Health teacher’ I should know different!

But in that moment all I can see is how real my thinking feels to me and I cry and I howl, and I beat myself up for not being good enough and I go to bed crying and angry at myself.

Because I’m human and I get this way I can’t sleep and my mind is racing

And I realise it may be a good idea to listen to Syd Banks so I do;

But my mind is racing and I can’t hear what he is saying

But I do hear him say “Seriousness like life is a thought and this thought creates a feeling. And if you create the feeling of seriousness then you are in a very serious state.”

(And I hear laughter from the audience and him.)

Then I hear him say

” You are very liable to have stress, strain, sickness and unhappiness and jealousy and everything else… Now seriousness doesn’t help you do anything in life but destroy yourself.”

And even though I’m not quite ready to hear it something does resonate with me,
because at the back of my mind something knows that what he is saying is true

And eventually I fall asleep.

When I wake up I don’t feel 100% and I’m still beating myself up

But part of me knows that beating myself up is a habit

But I’m not quite ready to give that habit up.

Part of me also knows that I’m just taking everything very seriously at the moment; and even though I’m still doing it

A little compassion for myself creeps in

And eventually after a few days I remember what makes life easier and then I’m back again

Until I forget, which I do because I’m human, (sometimes for an hour, sometimes for a day sometimes for a week, sometimes longer).

That’s my version of being human. What’s yours?

Go on I know you have your version too

Because you are human just like me.

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.

Lessons from mouse pooh and machine gun fire going off in my head

So last week my youngest was a bit off his food and I had this feeling that he was coming down with something. This led me to think that maybe I wouldn’t be able to go to work.

For two days he seemed OK but not great. I went to work one day and that night he had there’s no way to say this delicately a ‘wet fart’ and I knew then I most likely wouldn’t be going to work the next morning. With that at the back of my mind I gave the boys a bath and started to get them ready for bed. As a precaution I had been leaving bed mats around the house (as anyone would do who has experienced the full impact of a kids stomach bug) and I noticed as I got them ready for bed that a mouse had left a gift of a pooh on one of the mats by my son’s bed. I quickly disposed of it.

Then…

A machine gun fire of thinking started going off in my head!
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.

How To Keep Your Head When All About You Are Losing Theirs by Matt Halfin

Moods are like the weatherAt a moment where uncertainty, fear and anger are all around, there is no greater need to understand that our experience comes not from what is happening around us but by the meaning that we choose to give it, however much it looks the other way. You may notice that watching the news or reading Facebook comes with certain feelings, whilst when we are absorbed in our day to day lives those feelings recede, the reason being that we feel our thinking in the moment. The most helpful thing for us to do is to see any insecure thinking for what it is and as far as possible – difficult I know- try not to feed it.

All we can do is what makes sense to each of us to stay in a clearer state of mind where we have greatest access to the wisdom, creativity and fresh thinking which are undoubtedly required if we are to navigate our way gracefully through the unknown .

If you would like to get a deeper appreciation of what becomes available to us in life and in work when we drop the thinking that holds us back come and join our ‘Go Deep Urban Retreat’ on Monday 11 July 9.30am – 4pm. To find out more and to book click here.