Stop, Ground, Breathe...


Today I woke up in a BAD mood.⠀ It started when I realised that I still hadn't got rid of my sore throat and flu-like symptoms which meant I'd have to forgo yet another day of my usual exercises (stationary mama = bad mood mama). As the morning progressed and I snapped more frequently and with increasing irritation at family members, I could feel that my hormones were on the rampage (day 21 = bullshit radar is on full volume / minimum tolerance settings). I then discovered that the vastly expensive Xmas tree that arrived yesterday is covered in mud, totally lopsided and won’t stand up straight. And to top it all off, I spent most of the morning trying - and failing - to get my head around social media marketing. All of which left me in a bit of a tizz...

Luckily however, (for those around me), I’m now quite good at observing my emotions. So I knew that I did actually have a CHOICE about whether to continue down the road to overwhelm or whether to take quick remedial action.

And since it was too early for wine and I was too ill to go to yoga, I tried to channel my inner mindfulness guru instead:

i) I sat down on the floor (the nearer you can get to the earth the quicker you can 'ground')⠀ ii) I felt the support and solidity of the floor, and how it had 'got me'⠀ iii) I breathed: long, deep, slow, belly breaths⠀ iv) I said out loud, 3 times, along with my out breaths: “I feel supported” (3 is a sacred number and it’s always worth faking it until you make it)⠀ v) I looked outside at the trees: always there, strong but flexible, neither overwhelmed nor anxious, just alive ⠀ vi) I smiled (see above re faking it to make it)⠀

And I felt better!

Because I had become present: aware of my body and its surroundings rather than letting my inner bully/depressive/neurotic run the show. ⠀

I’ve also been staring at this photo, taken of our local beach this time last year when we lived in Koh Samui for a month. It reminds me that we CAN create our own reality and that anything is possible if you are bold enough: we dared to take our kids out of school, to take our jobs on the road, to pack up our house and exit the matrix, all in order to find our true selves on a year-long travel adventure. And we're back. And it worked.

So if any of you are also feeling a bit pants, try doing something that brings you into the now: stop, sit, ground, breathe, affirm and connect to Nature.

And remember, I’m there alongside you...⠀

Are you fulfilling your greatest potential, mama? Are you getting paid to do what you love whilst parenting in a calm and positive way? Are you feeling happy and fulfilled both at work and at home? Because you deserve to! Book a complimentary discovery session with me on skype and we can explore taking concrete steps towards creating a life in which you feel motivated and in control once more!  

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Anyone for a forest bathe?


Can you feel how the energy in a wood is unlike that of the urban 'jungle'? Do you feel different when you are in nature: more calm and more embodied? Perhaps you've noticed that your breathing slows, your thoughts are less scattered? If so, you are not inventing things. Because it has been scientifically proven that being around 'greenery' (in any form) reduces the risk of depression, anxiety, high blood pressure, stress and many other scourges of our modern lives.  

Not surprising really given that we are animals at heart. But we seem to forget this and then wonder why we feel like we do when we have been deprived of Nature: cooped up indoors, immobile in front of our computer screens with little natural light, central heating and no expansive outdoor vista.

Which is why “shinrin yoku” or forest bathing is where it’s at for many of us over-civilised, urban dwellers. This Japanese therapy was developed in the 1980s and is so well regarded as a preventative healthcare treatment that it now even has its own dot org.

I try to practise shinrin yoku (sounds more impressive when you say it in Japanese), at least once a week to de-stress, clear my mind and reconnect to my 'higher self' or what I also call my 'whole woman' - the one lurking behind the mama, daughter, partner, yogini, solopreneur, superwoman masks. The part of me that is tuned into Nature, to my instinctual self, to my body. She who is wise, unflappable, endlessly patient and trusting; an objective observer of my monkey-mind.

And it works! The mountainous issues on my radar shrink back to manageable molehills, the urgency of deadlines falls by the way side, and pleasure - bit by bit - takes over the need to perform.

In a forest, I can be unashamedly myself. There is no judgement so I judge myself less. Trees never fail to reset my hard drive and remind me of what (rather than who) I am. 

Why don't you try it for yourself? The spectacular autumnal show that is put on for us at this time of year when the Earth's seasonal cycle turns to releasing and death (a bit dramatic but that's the truth of it) is the perfect excuse to go for a Nature walk. And if you really can’t face leaving home, try hanging out next to a potted plant or staring out of a window at some nearby greenery. Even a patch of grass will do.

We all need regular self-care boosts in life and this is probably one of the easiest to implement and maintain.

Green is the new black...

Are you fulfilling your greatest potential, mama? Are you getting paid to do what you love whilst parenting in a calm and positive way? Are you feeling happy and fulfilled both at work and at home? Because you deserve to! Book a complimentary discovery session with me on skype and we can explore taking concrete steps towards creating a life in which you feel motivated and in control once more!  

Don’t forget you can also follow me on facebookyoutube & instagram!

On dropping the drama...


For six months in a row, from last September until this February, once every four weeks with almost clockwork precision, I would fall ill with a really bad flu that would last over a week. Not just runny nose-feeling-a-bit-out-of-sorts-flu but proper, high-temperature-stonking-headache-can’t-get-out-of-bed-for-at-least-a-couple-of-days stuff. And because I couldn’t work out why I kept getting ill, I didn’t know how to prevent it from happening over and over again. Initially I assumed I was picking it up from the pesky germ vectors that are my three small kids: after all, being sneezed and coughed on continuously and regularly blowing their noses definitely doesn’t boost the immune system. Then I thought it could be my ‘restricted’ diet (I turned vegetarian in April and rarely eat animal protein and there’s nothing more a meat-eater likes to point out than how your meat-less diet might be causing ill effects). But somehow I knew there was more to it than that: this was not just physical but psychological too. First there was the timing of each episode: always a couple of days before my period or on day 1. For those that don’t track their cycle, this is known as the transition between ‘autumn’ and ‘winter’ and should be the time for physical and mental rest, introspection and quiet time so that the body can compost what is not needed, preserve energy and gather strength to create anew next month – a reflection therefore of the natural world outside. I say ‘should’ because for me, it absolutely wasn’t. Ever. My vigorous, multitasking exercise / mothering / working / entertaining schedule would run continuously: there was no let down, no fallow stage, no off button, regardless of how I actually felt deep down. I would ignore the ‘weak’ inner voice that told me it really didn’t want to push on through and instead, I would switch on the turbo boost. And it was the precise synchronicity of the manifestation of ‘dis-ease’ that made me realise that I was being MADE to slow down once a month because I wasn’t doing so independently.

(The female body as a mirror of Nature to whom it is intimately connected, is still a relatively new concept to me. I only started tracking my cycle a year ago having had previously no idea what that even meant. This was partly explained by the fact that my most recent past has been spent either pregnant or lactating so that cycles were not even on my radar. And yet it has been such an eye-opener to experience how we women do indeed follow the same rhythm as the natural world, if only we listen closely enough to our bodies in order to allow them to mimic it. Being aware of these inner seasons and respecting the various phases they represent for my body has made me more understanding of my changes of mood, energy and temperament and as a result, more energetic and, dare I say it, productive!)

So noticing in November that I was definitely being sent a message to slow down, to become a human BEING instead of a human DOING, I cut down hugely on most of my physical output: I ditched the hour and a half weekly run, stopped the daily pilates exercises, halved my weekly sessions of hot yoga, rode the cargo bike full of three kids to school only once a day rather than twice and cut out all strenuous activity whatsoever on the first and second days of my period (the time during which you are meant to DROP). This was massively uncomfortable for me – someone who thrived on getting things done, achieving and of course receiving praise and admiration for doing so. And it didn’t even work. December came along with its own special variant of sore glands and chest infection.

So I took a different tack: the immune system. I started a new daily routine of taking every single supplement and vitamin I could think of: a mug of boiling water first thing with fresh ginger and half a lemon (balances the body’s acidity levels but wrecks the teeth), a teaspoon of turmeric with cracked pepper and oil to diffuse it (a wonder drug and great for swelling in particular), bee pollen (yet another wonder drug so wonderful that it can be consumed alone without any other food for months!), magnesium (for sore muscles and tiredness), liquid iron (to alleviate fatigue), multivitamin (why not?), omega 3, 6 and 9 (for a healthy brain and who knows what else), flax seed oil (more omega – can’t hurt, right?), vitamin B complex (in case I wasn’t getting enough protein?), acidophilus (healthy gut = healthy body), barley grass powder (yet another alkaline food), echinacea (to boost the immune system), vitamin C (anti-cold), not to mention the seeds: hemp, chia, poppy, sesame and linseed. Merely keeping on top of taking the right supplements at the right time was exhausting. And that didn’t work either: January was spent half in bed with a temperature, half out.

Next I took a slightly different look at my energy output: instead of cutting down on just the physical exertion, I examined it in terms of yin and yang. I realised how so much of my life had been full of masculine yang energy – pushing, exerting, stretching, straining. I needed more yin in my life! Of course! Here was the answer! I took up restorative yoga (was this seriously yoga? It felt like resting in 6 variations of lying down with my eyes closed for nearly an hour – bliss), renewed my love of colouring in (the new yoga!) and started up on the self-care: a weekly hot bath, guided meditations, going to bed when I felt tired not an hour after I felt exhausted. SURELY this was it? No. February brought a particularly drawn-out, over-two-week affair full of sinus infection and ear-ache.

By the end of that month I was desperate. And pretty angry too. What exactly did this damn body want from me? To “rest” comatose on my bed all day long like a vegetable? Was I not allowed to do anything I wanted to do? I was sick of being held ransom by my immune system. My enforced passivity was making me feel totally inauthentic. And then the penny dropped. Finally. That it wasn’t about HOW MUCH I was doing but the WAY in which I was doing it: my day, my approach, my existence had always been full of high energy, adrenalin, excitement, anxiety. My body fed off that charge like a drug and I needed another drug - alcohol and a huge dinner laden full of comforting carbohydrates - to come down, to numb out.

I realised that I needed to see life in a different way: without the in-built struggle. To see it less as a challenge to be overcome and more as an adventure to welcome and explore. To be strong but also flexible, to flow rather than to push. And so that is what I did. How I actually achieved this is a whole other blog post - watch this space - but the result? Good riddance flu! For nearly seven weeks now I have been dis-ease free. Despite being in contact with last month’s variety via all three kids and several friends, despite dropping all - yes every single one - of my daily vitamins and supplements and despite reinstating my rigorous exercise regime. I’ve kept up the self-care because it feels great and I still try to go to bed early a couple of nights a week but the main difference between before and after is that I am no longer MANIC. The high energy charge has dissipated. The intensity of life’s impact has lessened. I now value and listen to my inner voice rather than ignore it. I act on what it is asking me to do. I feel things rather than being consumed by those things. I realised that I can feel, authentically, without those feelings being extreme; that emotions can be moderate and still truly felt; that life can still be full of ups and downs but no longer needs to be full of DRAMA.

To my surprise I learnt yesterday that this has a name: modulation. It is something that should be learnt as a child. In my case, it was only learnt this winter, thanks to six bouts of flu. Sometimes there really is a silver lining...


For more info on the female cycle check out Jewel’s Wingfield’s insightful Celtic Womb Mandala teachings

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