Posts in 2015M
Let go and surrender...

This time next week I will have woken up to greet the first full day of my retreat, embraced warm hugs with my wonderful group of wholehearted people ready to embrace the universe and themselves, having just taken part in our first poolside ashtanga yoga class in the sunshine and now be finishing a hearty wholesome breakfast together to prepare for exploring the island.

There were many thoughts tripping over themselves in my head as I lay in bed this morning, I could feel bubbles of anxiety welling up with me and knew to diffuse things that I needed to try and put them down on paper, which turned into this blog post! 

The preparation for Lanzarote of the last five month has pushed me to the edge of my comfort zone. So many times I've had to lean in to that point just beyond, a place where it gets uncomfortable. The place that has had me in desperate tears and an anxious knot in my stomach on multiple occasions. The place that has had me breaking down in frustration (always at myself) in the presence of my ever patient coach, who reflects my greatness back to me when I don't believe in it myself.

Yet over these last couple of weeks as all the technicalities have fallen into place, a different mindset crept over me. One that feels all together unfamiliar and actually hugely liberating. 

It's the feeling of surrender, of trusting the universe, of knowing there is only so much I can plan for and that in actual fact the beauty is in the unknown, the organic growth and coming together of a group of beautiful people in a beautiful setting. 

My default nature, particularly in the past and one I'm now very aware of, is a rigid militant approach to life. I have always felt the need to 'prove' myself, to be doing doing doing, always be busy, to write lists and stick post-its it's everywhere, make sure I have an option for every possible eventuality... 

But this is not where the beauty of life lies...

With a rigid, militant approach we are blinkered to what the universe may throw in our path, opportunities may come up and we simply won't see them. Over the last five months I've begun to change and shift within. I have been listening to my heart more than my head, it speaks softly and quietly but oh so much more powerfully and deeply.

Tuning into my heart is a huge work in progress for me, decades of my head over-ruling it won't be changed over night. But I'm learning, I'm learning to surrender.

Lanzarote has so much more to teach me. I'm ready. 
 

Have a amazingly beautiful week... I'll check in with excitement from Lanzarote soon. I can't wait to share my adventures with you!

 

Curious to work together? Get in touch for a complimentary chat and we'll see where your are at and where you want to go!

 Why not sign up for my newsletter in my sidebar where I feature roundups and special offers plus my FREE ebook. If you are new round here you might like to check out my 'About' tab up top. To buy healthy nibbles you can also find me over at my sister site Wholeplus. 

Day to day you can always find me hanging out in these places:

 

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Rest is best and harmony heals

Yesterday I went to a meditation workshop held by Sandy Newbigging, the focus was the concepts held within his new book ‘Body Calm’ which struck a chord with me because that’s exactly what I’m working on in my own life right now… Calming my body and optimising my mind-body connection!

I scribbled lots of notes in my notebook as the day went on and so wanted to extract some of the key points here, in part so that I can reflect on them and better utilise them in my own life and work, but also so that you may be able to benefit from his teaching too. The notes below are more like a series of bullet pointed concepts, some ideas to sit with and mull over. Hopefully one or two may help create curiosity and mind shifts for you in your own life.

I had already bought his new book Body Calm as a previous event a few weeks ago, and so for the purpose of this blog post I got a cheesy selfie… yay! :-)

 
 

Our bodies are not against us- they our teachers sending us messages. Once we acknowledge this, it is a hugely power and powerful mindset!

‘Rest is best and harmony heals’. Stress is the result of there being disharmony within your mind body soul and life. Central to Body Calm is the invitation to rest in your conscious awareness.

Body Calm begins with mind calm, and mind calm begins with knowing who you really are. Your ‘Self’. The mind is temporary and constantly changing, if we focus on this we run into problems. Our awareness is the unchanging part. Our Self

Problems come when we are ‘feeling our thinking’, external factors don’t cause a negative feelings. Our own relationship to those feelings does.

Peace is not the absence of emotion- peace can exist with any emotion through our awareness of Self. Here co-existence of peace and emotion is always possible regardless of the emotion we are experiencing. When we are suffering, we have dropped ‘into’ the emotion and have left the state of ‘observing’ the emotion. 

I personally love that point above! The awareness (Self) is only ever in the NOW, all thoughts of past and future can never be present. 

You have the initial reaction then typically you have the ‘dwelling’- it’s the dwelling that causes the stress and the suffering and that’s what we want to reduce. Regardless of the gravity of the emotion itself, when it’s happening in the now it doesn’t cause stress, it simply is ‘happening’. 

GAAW0 = gently alert awareness wide open. This is the fundamental concept of Sandy’s meditation technique to engage the Self, we can do this with eyes open or closed, gazing forwards yet being aware of the greater environment.

Virtues are like ‘iclouds’ above our heads. When we engage in GAAWO, we are aware of the conflict and emotion and so are in a position to be able to download the virtue we need more of e.g feeling frustration offers us the virtue of patience and we need to actively Choose to bring this in (or another virtue need more of in that scenario).

We often live through a series of thoughts, not in the present and not ‘fully and completely’. Fully and completely is Sandy’s definition of life. Life happens on a spectrum of all possibilities. We tend to want to hang out on the positive end of the spectrum, yet that is not living a full human experience, we need to be able to willing and able to live life right across the spectrum.

Stress is not the cause because stress is caused by something- it is not the source. Inner conflict is the cause- that requires two opposing forces, the attachment and the resistance. We get caught in the middle of the push-pull dynamic, we resist what’s happening because we attached to something that we want to be happening instead. Stress is not caused by your circumstances, it is caused by resistance to the circumstances. When we keep focusing on it, it persists.

I AM not my EMOTIONS. I simply HAVE emotions. 

I AM is permanent and unchanging- the Self, yet EMOTIONS are transitory and when we reflect back we can always think of a time in our lives that we haven’t felt that emotion.

Emotions = energy, and we need energy to create and heal. To optimise our life. The more emotions we have the better.

Emotion = energy in motion!

I love this symbol of energy in motion, from the whole workshop this was the concept that spoke to me most profoundly, I often find myself bouncing from the highs to the lows, full of overwhelm and anxiety. Resisting that overwhelming is not embracing and trusting it for it’s power to create and heal and allow me to travel that journey of becoming my highest self. It’s the resistance that hinders this progress, the resistance that creates the struggle and the stress. not the energy itself. Game changer!

We are born with only two fears-falling and loud noises. Everything else is learned, labelled and conditioned. As humans we tend to apply labels to everything. But we could benefit more from understanding what this emotion feels like within our body, how it manifests, that it is a transient messenger… before simply labelling it and putting it aside. 

When you feel an emotion, recognise it and respond as a welcoming sign of growth and healing. “Hello energy, thank you for passing through, feel free to hang out as long as you need to.”

Life is happening to invite us to wake up consciousness- nothing comes along to hurt you but to wake you up and help you grow. Knowing this ultimately means that what your experience is less important than your relationship with it.

With the right attitude, you can use all that happens to you as an invitation to step up, wake up, and fully show up.

 
 

i'd love to hear your thoughts on these concepts, how you feel about your own relationship between your body and mind, and your awareness of the inner 'Self'? If you are super curious… Get in touch and let's arrange some time to chat about it!

 

Curious to work together? Get in touch for a complimentary chat and we'll see where your are at and where you want to go!

 Why not sign up for my newsletter in my sidebar where I feature roundups and special offers plus my FREE ebook. If you are new round here you might like to check out my 'About' tab up top. To buy healthy nibbles you can also find me over at my sister site Wholeplus. 

Day to day you can always find me hanging out in these places:

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Sleep your way to the top...
 
charge in us.jpg

I was listening to a talk by Ariana Huffington (The Huffington Post) last week, and so many of her thoughts held so much truth for me. I greatly admire the journey she's been on and the way she shows up in the world to enable others to break out of destructive cycles they might be going through. I guess this is why I resonate with her.

One of her keystone habits when she began her transition back from burn out, was to increase her sleep from 4 to 5 hours per night to 7 to 8 hours per night.

She says the greatest piece advice she can give anybody, is the knowledge that you can literally 'sleep your way to the top’.

She states that success in her life endeavours would not have been possible it were not for these simple changes she brought about. In addition, she says that by increasing her sleep by three hours a day, she actually had more time not less, as she was more efficient, more productive and made less mistakes then if she had been functioning in a state of sleep deprivation.

She also used the example of a mobile phone...

We take more care of our smartphones then we do have our own bodies and minds.  Most of us know exactly how much battery we have left on our phones and when we get to less then 20% we start panicking and wondering how soon will be will to make it to the next charging station.  

Yet we never pay this attention to our bodies, we don't even realise how much charge we have left in us. Often this means we have zero charge left, yet still plough on ahead regardless, pushing when there is nothing left to give.

Allowing sleep and allowing space awakens our bodies and minds to the subtleties of life, it allows us to be in tune with our intuition to think steps ahead instead of firefighting problems as they arise. In doing so this puts us in a position of 'owner' and control instead of one of playing the victim. 

Overwhelm and anxiety has become a significant thing for me in recent months, yet I have noticed a few aspects in my life which can trigger the spiral of overwhelm onset.  The biggest of these is the absence of a simple but powerful morning routine. Underlying a powerful morning routine is good quality sleep. They say to make a significant change in your life it was begins with tiny steps, a single keystone change that can then have the ripple effect into creating others. 

I am taking a note out with Ariana's book and listening to my body instead of listening to the voice in my head that tries to tell me that 'I'm not a enough' and that I have more to get done before I have ‘permission' to go to bed.  

This also aligns with research that indicates that 'one hour before midnight is worth two after’. The earlier the better. This sets me up for the potential of a great day ahead. Every day.

The small change to go to bed one hour earlier each night started just over a week ago, and for the first time ever I have been able to honour that change (most nights) and override the inner voice. I have also changed aspects of gym routine, which I'll touch on another time, that has helped as it has removed super early starts. P.s I tried this many times before... I even set this challenge yet this time it feels different!

So far so good.... I'll keep you posted. I'm still working on the powerful morning routine. One step at a time!

Tell me, what is your relationship to sleep and a powerful morning routine?

 

Curious to work together? Get in touch for a complimentary chat and we'll see where your are at and where you want to go!

 Why not sign up for my newsletter in my sidebar where I feature roundups and special offers plus my FREE ebook. If you are new round here you might like to check out my 'About' tab up top. To buy healthy nibbles you can also find me over at my sister site Wholeplus. 

Day to day you can always find me hanging out in these places:

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Overwhelm... When you hit the wall

Why is it that when you've had a few amazing weeks, or a run of pretty productive days and you're feeling like things are finally beginning to fall into place on an upward trajectory… Then BAM!!

You hit a wall. 

A wall of overwhelm, or self sabotage, or feeling as though you're going back to square one.

Incredibly frustrating, but let that feeling be comforted knowing you are not alone. I am totally there with you!

This is what happened to me last weekend. I took part in an amazing two-day coaching intensive. I met incredibly inspiring people, got vulnerable, opened my mind, found my voice and really made a contribution. I felt buoyed up and full of life, ready to rock my dreams and begin building on all the things I'd crystallised and created deep clarity around over the previous two days.

This sense of vibrancy is how I went to sleep on Sunday night, yet Monday morning I woke up and hit the wall. 

Why?

I have spent some time thinking about this over the last couple of days as I've begun to bring myself back in alignment. I reflected back on a talk I listened to by raw food coach Karen Knowler a few weeks back. She talked about vibrational energy and when you raise yourself up to a new energetic frequency, you need to upgrade your environment to match otherwise you will no longer sit comfortably within your environment and your mind will pull yourself back down to the old vibrational level. 

I totally get that this idea is going to be too ‘woo woo’ for some, and i’ll freely admit that it's taken me a little while to get my head around but I think I'm beginning to understand what she was alluding to.

This is often what happens when we clean up our diets. It's not so much that we are too weak willed to maintain our new healthy habits, it could be simply that our vibrational energy no longer matches that of our surroundings and so therefore we longer comfortably fit on a cellular level.

So there are two potential outcomes- we upgrade our surroundings (by way of stimulus, friends, hobbies etc) to match our new frequency or sooner or later our mind will act to ’tip us off the wagon' to re-align ourselves with where you were before. 

For me this wall of overwhelm touches the idea of higher energy or new vibrational frequency. It also draws a close relationship to the 'clutter' in my mind. The more intense the frequency the most energetic space I need to create for it to do it’s thing. I'm simply not allowing for that at the moment, I have so much going on in my mind and my life (the busy but not necessarily productive conundrum!) that it is too cluttered and I and can be quickly feel claustrophobic, cabin fevered, overwhelmed and not sure what to do in any given moment. So it shuts down to redress the balance. An innate self-preservation tactic I guess.

It's my mind's way of telling me to slow down and create space for more magic.

I had a conversation with a new client last night and we touched on a few of these things which is probably why it’s more present in my mind this morning. We talked about self-care in moments of life when there seems to be so much going on. What is the baseline level of self-care but you could seek to maintain? Wow, this question is powerful for me too. Self care creates space. I'm looking at my baseline level of self-care this morning.

How can you serve yourself most powerfully when you hit the wall? I’d love to have a conversation with you about it.

 

Curious to work together? Get in touch for a complimentary chat and we'll see where your are at and where you want to go!

 Why not sign up for my newsletter in my sidebar where I feature roundups and special offers plus my FREE ebook. If you are new round here you might like to check out my 'About' tab up top. To buy healthy nibbles you can also find me over at my sister site Wholeplus. 

Day to day you can always find me hanging out in these places:

 

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Busyness is laziness
 

I was listening to an incredibly inspiring interview between Jan Broders and Izzy Arkin just a few moments ago. The interview of itself was 90 minutes long yet this simple phrase and Izzy's thoughts surrounding it pulled my attention... "Busyness is laziness"

How many times do you say yes to things that you should say no to and fail set boundaries. How many times do you get in your own way when you get overwhelmed. How many things are you doing each day to simply fill gaps of time where you should be slowing down and creating space for living your truth.

Empty space is incredibly important. We are often too afraid to simply be with ourselves.

Hell yeah… this is me! 

I hold my hands high in vulnerable acknowledgement. 

For a long time I told myself: ‘I like to be busy’, ‘I can’t sit still’, ‘I always need to be doing something’, ‘I haven’t earnt the right for downtime’.

I kind of wore those phrases like a badge of honour, like something to be proud of. Like DOing more was BEing more.

If you are like me you may have spent so many hours and weeks and months and maybe even years trying to find what it is that resonates most with you deep inside, trying to furiously find your calling in life instead of slowing down and letting it find you. 

This was my life up until a couple of years ago when my calling crept up on me, it was a slow movement and something I didn’t acknowledge and recognise for a long time as it required stepping away from the norm and the rush of everyday living. 

I was too scared to acknowledge it.

Wow... even just saying that right there feels pretty profound to me. 

I’m still a huge work in progress as I really struggle with allowing myself not to be busy. Yet my work requires such huge personal development on a daily basis in order for me to show up most powerfully for my clients. Quite literally the more I do for me, the more I can do for you. This isn’t just isolated to me, to my work as a coach of any of those in the caring and healing industries.

We all have people in our lives to care for and serve and we can only do so most powerfully if we serve ourselves first. 

If your life feels a little bit out of sorts and if you find yourself filling the gaps of time because you are scared of the silence, scared of what might be found within those depths, be courageous... feel the fear and do it anyway. 

I am on my journey and I am there for you to take steps into yours should you feel called to share it with me. 

 

Curious to work together? Get in touch for a complimentary chat and we'll see where your are at and where you want to go!

 Why not sign up for my newsletter in my sidebar where I feature roundups and special offers plus my FREE ebook. If you are new round here you might like to check out my 'About' tab up top. To buy healthy nibbles you can also find me over at my sister site Wholeplus. 

Day to day you can always find me hanging out in these places:

 

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The power in the pause
 
butenko pause.jpg

Previously when I have considered the notion of a 'pause' it's been with reference to taking a step back, putting the brakes on rushing through life or a spot of meditation… However recently I discovered there was a powerful pause each of us makes, multiple times in every minute of every day without even knowing it, and the power it holds is entirely overlooked and under utilised.

We breathe in and we breathe out, we breathe in and we breathe out… This is a continuous process that we don't even have to think about. Our bodies regulate us on autopilot. Yet consciously being aware of our breath and more importantly how we then physically engage with it takes us into a new level.

The next time you breathe out notice what happens in that split second before you breath in, that moment where time seems to stand still, we float within our bodies before refilling our lungs with air. Next time you breathe out, at the end of the breath try extending that passive pause a little and see what it feels like.

This is the power of the pause.

I often enjoy this 'floating' timeless experience during my yoga classes but I had no understanding that spending time in the pause on a regular daily basis could create such huge internal benefits for our body systems. My recent butenko breathing session with Jen Tiller showed me otherwise.

Our bodies need a very precise balance of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the blood stream at all times. That delicate balance is easily upset and over time a process called the BOHR effect changes the PH of the whole system, reducing the rate of oxygen available to the cells. Breathing more actually makes it worse. The body is conditioned to breathe too much all the time as a result of the well-known fight or flight response becoming habitual.

At the core of the Buteyko method is a series of reduced-breathing exercises that focus on nasal-breathing, breath-holding and relaxation.  The ‘control pause’ at the end of the out breath is key to regulating our breathing and the all the potential health benefits this has been shown to be associated with. 

You can find more information about Jen Tiller’s butenko breathing sessions here and some more info about butenko breathing in general and the potential benefits to health and fitness here.

As ever I simply encourage you to get ‘curious’, for me understanding the power of my own body and various ways in which I can optimise my health is a key part of this process.

 

Curious to work together? Get in touch for a complimentary chat and we'll see where your are at and where you want to go!

 Why not sign up for my newsletter in my sidebar where I feature roundups and special offers plus my FREE ebook. If you are new round here you might like to check out my 'About' tab up top. To buy healthy nibbles you can also find me over at my sister site Wholeplus. 

Day to day you can always find me hanging out in these places:

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Lists... are they serving you?
(p.s this isn't even a 'bad' example... you should see some of the other pages in this book!)

(p.s this isn't even a 'bad' example... you should see some of the other pages in this book!)

I was sitting having a quiet few moments in the sunshine after my lunch and my notepad lying open on the arm of the chair caught my eye, I had to smile to myself because sometimes I can be a bit ridiculous.

I'm all about practising what I preach, but more than that I'm all about vulnerability. There are some parts of my life where I pretty much suck. Learning to slow down and create proper 'me' time is one of them (though I am slowly but surely getting better!)

I'm one of those people who make lists, but my lists are never-ending. I add new things more quickly than I can complete them, I constantly bump things to the following day or the following week (or the following month) and I get a little bit OCD with my pencil, ticking things, circling things and crossing things... filling up notebooks at an alarming rate. I nearly always have my notebook by my side and I have a tendency to create an internal anxiety with how much I 'still have to do'. 

Yes I'll admit I am one of those people who does something not on the list and then retrospectively adds it to the list simply to tick it off and feel a moment of smug satisfaction (don't pretend you haven't done that too!)

Don't get me wrong, lists can be a great tool. They can create a sense of objectiveness, a sense of structure and they can be a useful method in day to day productivity BUT they can also be a source of anxiety and of overwhelm and a trigger for fears of 'never being enough'… if you are a bit of a perfectionist like me then my guess is that you tend towards the latter too. Something to consider maybe.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on your own relationship to lists.. and any tips or tricks that have helped you in your own life!

I don't have all the answers. But I can create an environment for you to explore the habits in your life that can be at times destructive, or that simply do not serve you in reaching your greater goals or your potential, and know I'm always here when that time feels right for you. 

 

Curious to work together? Get in touch for a complimentary chat and we'll see where your are at and where you want to go!

 Why not sign up for my newsletter in my sidebar where I feature roundups and special offers plus my FREE ebook. If you are new round here you might like to check out my 'About' tab up top. To buy healthy nibbles you can also find me over at my sister site Wholeplus. 

Day to day you can always find me hanging out in these places:

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"Don't die with your music still inside you"

This is a beautiful quote by the late Wayne Dyer, who's movie The Shift I watched again last night.

His quotes that live on and resonate with so many often have a musical poetry to them. I like to think that when we are are living in our element we all intuitively 'sing' from the heart and it is our duty to ourselves and the world to find that place that make our heart and mind truly sing.

Use this life to make sure your voice is heard...

Last weekend I discovered a hidden talent. It took me totally by surprise and its power blew me away. In an act of spontaneity I joined a friend for a weekend festival of spiritual music… didjeridoo, drumming, singing, chanting and everything in between. When we arrived, at first I sat back and enjoy the sounds, marvelled at the skill and the passion of those that played, shying away when I was offered a turn. 

As the day wore on my innate curiosity got the better of me.

I wanted to experience what it’s like to really play a didjeridoo, I wanted to get over my frustration of not being able to circular breathe. That lead onto the drums, something I’ve never even picked up before in my life. The deep resonant base grounded me and spoke deep within. So, with the djembe awkwardly propped up between my legs I gave it a go, my palms beating a simple rhythm. Within minutes I was playing along with the group, it was a crazy, unexpected and beautiful experience. An intuitive jam session that had no rules or reasons, just soul centred notes that came together in the moment, the rise and fall of the rhythm and the beat.

Music is life and life is music. I understood.

In those moments as I was paying the drum I felt a deeper connection than I had maybe ever felt before.

My next step?  To continue that feeling, that sense of connection, of rhythm, of one-ness… of song.

How exactly that materialises is yet to be seen. I'll keep you posted... but at this point I want to give a little shout out to a few members of the amazing tribe I spent my weekend with.

Paul Osborne for letting me ride with him and showing me the way. Drummer and master digj maker. FIND HIM HERE.

Andrea Furlan, master didj maker and performer for teaching me the didj and loaning me one of his beautiful instruments so I can continue my journey. FIND HIM HERE.

Pete Berni who hosted the festival and created the space for a beautiful experience. The 'Summer Retreat' is an annual festival held in Northampton UK… YOU CAN FIND OUT MORE HERE and keep an eye on details for next year.


My wellness immersion retreat in Lanzarote will focus on bringing together all those many strands that make you, YOU. A cocoon of self exploration, the chance to nurture your inner voice and find your true you, reconnect with your song and find the playful and curious soul within.

Join me on November 28th for an incredible week long adventure of personal growth. Email me for a chat to find out more about the retreat or simply for a space to talk and get a little closer to your music. hello@includingcake.com

 

Curious to work together? Get in touch for a complimentary chat and we'll see where your are at and where you want to go!

 Why not sign up for my newsletter in my sidebar where I feature roundups and special offers plus my FREE ebook. If you are new round here you might like to check out my 'About' tab up top. To buy healthy nibbles you can also find me over at my sister site Wholeplus. 

Day to day you can always find me hanging out in these places:

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